The Longacres Mile

While the Sounders have been streaky and the Mariners have sucked, down in Auburn there’s a winner in every race—and most of those winners call Washington their home state. The venue is Emerald Downs and the winners are horses, but they’re every bit as crush-worthy as Ichiro. What little girl didn’t grow up worshipping all things equine? And what degenerate gambler can deny being pummeled by that same wave of infatuation? But still, compared to the Churchills and Saratogas of the world, our lively local track is relatively minor league—except for one Sunday in August. On that Sunday, the Longacres Mile is run. With a combined purse of a quarter-million dollars, it’s always been a prestigious enough race to attract bluegrass and Californian carpetbaggers. But in 2008, it became a Breeders Cup qualifying race, ensuring its victors a spot in thoroughbred racing’s version of March Madness. Thus the quality of the shipped-in talent increased. But a funny thing happened: The locals kept right on winning. This year, top trainer Howard Belvoir is expected to return the Mile’s past two winners, Assessment and Wasserman, to the starting gate, giving Washington’s star gallopers a fine shot at keeping the title in Auburn for the sixth straight year. And there’ll be a fine undercard for fans to crowd the betting windows all day long. MIKE SEELY

Sun., Aug. 22, 2 p.m., 2010

 
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