AUBURN — Thursday’s 85th running of the $100,000 Longacres Mile will represent a lot of firsts. It’ll be the first run on a weekday, first under the lights at night, and first without fans in attendance.
Once the gates open, it’s still a matter of who’s first across the wire. Ten older horses led by California-based Anothertwistafate will contest the Northwest’s premier horse race at Emerald Downs.
Unraced since finishing 10th in the 2019 Preakness Stakes, Anothertwistafate is the 8-to-5 morning-line favorite. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred, he was among the nation’s top 3-year-olds last year, finishing second in both the Sunland Derby and Lexington Stakes and winning the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby by seven lengths. Trained by Blaine Wright, Anothertwistafate has three wins in seven lifetime starts with $303,505 in earnings.
“Everything has gone well; our horse has worked lights out,” Wright said. “His six-furlong works are like a mile; he gallops out strongly.”
Wright has been the leading stakes trainer the past three seasons at Emerald Downs, amassing 30 stakes wins here since 2017. The Mile, however, has eluded his grasp. There have been some close calls, including runner-up finishes by Alert Bay in 2018 and Anyportinastorm, who missed by a head to Law Abidin Citizen in 2019.
Owned by Peter Redekop of British Columbia, Anothertwistafate drew the No. 4 post-position and will be ridden by two-time Longacres Mile-winning jockey Juan Gutierrez.
Contenders Five Star General and He’s the Reason make for a formidable Canadian presence in this year’s Mile. Five Star General captured the 2019 British Columbia Derby and is 2-for-2 at a mile, while He’s the Reason is a multiple stakes winner in Vancouver. Both are owned and trained by Glen Todd.
Five Star General is ridden by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Mario Gutierrez, 2-for-2 in the Mile with wins on Taylor Said in 2012 and Point Piper in 2016.
At 8-1 on the morning line, Elliott Bay appears to be the top local threat. The lone returnee from the 2019 Longacres Mile, the 5-year-old is unbeaten in two starts at the meet, which began in late June. Papa’s Golden Boy at 10-1 and Take Charge Deputy at 12-1 are also among the local hopefuls with an outside shot at stopping the invaders. Long shots The Press, Hollywood Heat, Makah Lane and La Waun round out the field.
The Mile goes as the eighth of 11 races Thursday evening, with an 8:30 p.m. post time. It will be broadcast live on TVG and at emeralddowns.com.