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The road to the Longacres Mile in August begins Sunday with the $50,000 Governor’s Handicap at Emerald Downs in Auburn for 3-year-olds and up at 6½ furlongs.

The 75th running of the Governor’s is the first stakes of the season for older males and the lone sprint of the four-race series, which also features the $50,000 Budweiser Handicap at one mile on June 15, the $50,000 Mt. Rainier Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on July 20, and the $200,000 Longacres Mile on August 24.

A field of 10 is set to compete in an evenly matched race Sunday.

Absolutely Cool, winner of the $75,000 Phoenix Gold Cup at Turf Paradise in February, returns to Emerald Downs for the Governor’s and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. A 7-year-old Washington-bred gelding, Absolutely Cool has seven wins, eight seconds and six thirds in 27 career starts. He has won three stakes with a strong late kick for owner/breeder Karl Krieg.

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Winning Machine and Jebrica, the first- and second-place finishers in the 2012 Governor’s, are in the field, as is Mr. Bowling, a Grade III stakes winner and the third betting choice in the 2013 Longacres Mile.

Mr. Bowling, 3-1 on the morning line, comes off an encouraging comeback last month, finishing second to Scat Daddybaby in a fast 6-furlong allowance race.

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