AUBURN — Trainer Mark Glatt had a feeling his horse would take to the dirt at Emerald Downs and, boy, was the Auburn native right.
Law Abidin Citizen, who had been racing mostly on the turf in Southern California, caught heavily favored Anyportinastorm in the final strides, winning the $200,000 Longacres Mile on Sunday by a head.
It was a thrilling finish, with Restrainedvengence a neck behind in the Grade III race.
Glatt, 46, has been based in Southern California for more than two decades, but he knows all about how big the Mile is in the Northwest.
“I’ve been watching this race since I was a kid, so it’s cool,” Glatt said. “Our turf courses in Southern California are real firm and fast and our main tracks are kind of deep and slow. So I thought there was a pretty good chance he would like this main track because it is hard and fast. His turf form transferred to today.”
Glatt grew up on a 5-acre farm in Auburn, the son of trainer Ron Glatt, who worked at Longacres in Renton before it closed in 1992. Father and son were together Sunday for the big win.
“I thought we got the (head) bob, but it was close,” Mark Glatt said.
Law Abidin Citizen was the third choice in the wagering and paid $15.60 to win. The winning time was 1 minute, 34.08 seconds. It was his sixth career victory in 23 starts and just his second win on dirt.
Anyportinastorm was the 7-10 favorite and, as expected, went right to the lead. Law Abidin Citizen got a great tracking spot in third along the rail, then shifted outside of Anyportinastorm entering the stretch.
Anyportinastorm battled gamely, and for a while it looked like he might hold off both Law Abidin Citizen and Restrainedvengence, but he finally lost the lead in the final few yards.
“I told (jockey) Abel (Cedillo) to get him up into the race because you have to be close here to have any shot,” Glatt said. “When he angled him to the outside, I thought we had a chance to run him down, and we did in the last jump.”
Anyportinastorm jockey Juan Hernandez said his horse ran a good race.
“He broke sharp and I was comfortable, and then there was a little pressure on the backside,” he said. “He was holding them (off), but the last couple of jumps that horse caught me. He ran good, but a good horse caught me.”
It was a tough defeat for Anyportinastorm trainer Blaine Wright, who is the son of another Northwest trainer, Richard, who worked at both Longacres and Emerald Downs.
Wright would not comment afterward, but Cedillo gave credit to the foe he barely beat.
“The favorite, he fought a lot, too,” said Cedillo, who is based in Southern California, but was riding Law Abidin Citizen for the first time. “It was a tough race. My horse likes to fight, too, and he finished really strong.”
- The sound system from announcer Tom Harris’ sixth-floor broadcast booth went down just before the race. Joe Withee, Emerald Downs director of publicity and broadcasting, was forced into duty at the last second, calling the race from ground level with his microphone, and doing a remarkable job considering the circumstances.
- Jockey Martin Pedroza, who finished eighth on Curlin Rules, rode in the Mile for the first time since 1992, the final time it was held at Longacres.