My Favorite Race--The Longacres Mile

Profile Picture: Jason Beem

August 10th, 2016

To us here in the Northwest, the Longacres Mile is everything. It’s the biggest day on the calendar and has an amazing history. I’ve been fortunate enough to see many in person and it’s something I always get excited for. This year is no different. A full field is expected and it will be a good mix of local runners as well as California shippers. Here’s a look back on some of my favorite Longacres Mile memories.

Snipledo 1990

I was ten years old and was just getting a little too big to sit on my dad’s shoulders anymore. But Longacres had this green retaining wall that acted as the rail for fans to go stand up against and the closer you got to the winner’s circle, the higher that wall got. So as they were going into the gate I begged my dad to let me sit on his shoulders. He flung me up just in time to see Snipledo come flying out of the gate and lead the field on a merry chase around the oval. Snipledo dominated that day. He had been claimed for $60,000 just two starts prior and one of the owners he was claimed away from was my pal Jerry Kohls, the now longtime racing secretary at Portland Meadows. Jerry was at Yakima Meadows back then and said his $15,000 share of the claim was used for a down payment on his house. I told him “just imagine what the $35,000 share you’d have got for winning the Mile would have bought!”

Louis Cyphre 1991

Gary Stevens was returning to where his career really took off to ride this California invader. They made a big move on the turn and got the jump on Captain Condo to get the win. People in the Northwest have always taken pride in Gary’s success and the fact that he really cut his teeth up here. So it was cool to see him win the Mile.

Sky Jack 2003

The mighty Sky Jack gives one more big run and dominates a field to win going away. I had just started law school at Gonzaga the week before, but I spent the entire day in the OTB at the defunct Post Falls Greyhound Park watching and wagering. I liked Poker Brad as a long shot and he ran second but nobody was getting to Sky Jack that day. I think it may be the most impressive Longacres Mile win at Emerald Downs.

No Giveaway 2005

This will always be a personal favorite cause it’s the biggest longshot I’ve ever picked. The track on Mile day traditionally always favored speed but in 2005 it was all closers early in the card. So I chucked the favorite Flamethrowintexan who was early speed. I told my uncle I liked No Giveaway and he was 60/1 coming in off a win in the Governor’s Handicap. I boxed him in a trifecta with four other horses and hit for just under five grand. I bought a part of a yearling at the sale a month later with that money. So yeah, that money vanished quick. But No Giveaway’s march to victory was so exciting.

Wasserman 2008

Wasserman was the local horse who just kept winning in 2008 and he somehow beat some very tough shippers that year. The explosion of crowd noise on the apron when he won that year was deafening. People went crazy. It’s one of my favorite calls of Robert Geller’s as well.

Assessment 2009

I was co-hosting the simulcast feed this year and it was 90 degrees and I had to wear a tuxedo. I got heat stroke and had to go to the hospital about 30 minutes before the Mile. Not a favorite Mile of mine.

Stryker PhD 2014-2015

He’s going to try and become the first 3 time Longacres Mile winner this year but his two wins the last couple years were very memorable. He ate up ground on the turns like no horse I’d ever seen at Emerald Downs. Emerald Downs is about as far from a closer friendly track as you’ll find, but this guy put in two of the most memorable closing performances in track history the last couple years. If he somehow can find the magic of yesteryear, the place will go crazy.