The Mt. Rainier was the final of four stakes on Mile Preview Day as the countdown is on for the 82nd running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile on Sunday, August 13.
Mach One Rules made it two straight stakes wins with a powerful 2-length triumph over Bistraya in Sunday’s $50,000 Mt. Rainier Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at Emerald Downs.
The Mt. Rainier was the final of four stakes on Mile Preview Day as the countdown is on for the 82nd running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile on Sunday, Aug. 13.
With his triumph Sunday, Mach One Rules appears to be the top local threat for the Northwest’s most prestigious race. Powering to the lead in the stretch, Mach One Rules turned aside Canadian invader Bistraya in mid-stretch and pulled clear for his fifth career Emerald Downs stakes victory.
Stryker Phd, winner of the Longacres Mile in 2014 and 2015, was expected to be a contender in the race, but the 8-year-old gelding was scratched by the starter after characteristically lagging behind while the others loaded.
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“It was the starter’s call,” said Stryker Phd trainer Larry Ross, who was clearly unhappy. “The horse is fine, and healthy, and he was training fabulously. We’ll work him out Thursday.”
Mach One Rules, ridden by Isaias Enriquez, ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1 minute, 42.55 seconds and paid $6.60 to win.
“He’s just doing really good mentally and physically; he’s in a zone right now,” said Mach One Rules trainer Frank Lucarelli. “Hopefully he can stay in it for one more race.”
Barkley, the 7-5 favorite, finished third.
Prime Engine, the 3-1 morning-line second choice, was scratched due to a high temperature.
Ross, meanwhile, said he hopes to run Stryker Phd in the Longacres Mile, giving him a chance to become the first horse to win the race three times.
“I wouldn’t put it past him,” Ross said of a third win.
Still, it will be a tougher task without running in this key prep race.
“This was a bad call that cost Stryker a race that he needed, a possible win for his owners and cost the fans a chance to see one of their favorites, who at age 8 is again at the top of his game,” said Sharon Ross, who assists her husband, Larry.
In the race before, Citizen Kitty asserted herself as Emerald Downs’ top older filly or mare with a dominant 4½-length victory over Princess Katie in the $50,000 Boeing Stakes for older fillies and mares.
Ridden by Julien Couton, Citizen Kitty ran one mile in 1:36.84 and paid $8.40 to win.
The impressive victory makes her the one to beat in the $65,000 Emerald Distaff at 1 1/8 miles on Aug. 13.
A 5-year-old Washington-bred, Citizen Kitty has two wins and three seconds in five starts this years.
In the $50,000 Emerald Express for 2-year-old colts and geldings, first-time starter He’s Not Grey rallied from far back to post an 11-to-1 upset. Ridden by Juan Gutierrez, He’s Not Grey covered 5½ furlongs in 1:05.04.
In the $50,000 Angie C Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Bella Mia led gate-to-wire under Couton and won by 2 lengths over longshot Faith Flys Again, running 5½ furlongs in 1:05.06.