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AUBURN – They are coming from the North and South, the East and Midwest. Such is the draw of the Northwest’s most prestigious horse race, the Grade III, $200,000 Longacres Mile.

Ready to meet the challenge of the invaders is a strong group of local horses in what appears to one of the most competitive Miles. It all comes together Sunday at Emerald Downs in the 78th running of the race for horses 3 years and older, and a full field of 12 was drawn Wednesday.

Handicappers will have a tough time picking a winner in this race. A good case can be made for just about every horse. The morning-line favorite at 7-2 is Politicallycorrect, a 4-year-old whose last race was a third-place finish last month in a Grade III stakes race at famed Saratoga (N.Y.) He will start from post No. 3.

Herbie D, the Canadian-based 5-year-old who was an impressive winner in last month’s Mt. Rainier Handicap at Emerald, will start from the No. 10 post and is 4-1 on the morning line.

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Owner Glen Todd of British Columbia-based North American Thoroughbred Company won the race last year with Taylor Said for his first Mile win, and he will try to repeat with Hoist, and Mr. Bowling, who he co-owns with Mark Dedomenico.

“The Mile is the biggest race in the Pacific Northwest,and winning the Mile was the best and most gratifying day I’ve had in horse racing,” said Todd, who made the trip for the post-position draw at Emerald.

Riding Taylor Said to his Mile victory was Mario Gutierrez, who a few months earlier had ridden I’ll Have Another to victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

“Winning the Mile is as big to me as winning the Kentucky Derby,” Gutierrez said moments after winning the Mile, and it sure seemed that he meant it.

Wesley Ward, the trainer for Politicallycorrect, grew up in Washington and he suggested the Mile to the horse’s owners, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who lead the nation in earnings. The horse arrived here a couple of weeks ago to get acclimate to the track.

“As anyone who grew up in the Northwest knows, you’ve got the Kentucky Derby and you’ve got the Longacres Mile,” Ward told Daily Racing Form. “I’m real excited about it. I think I’ve got a really good chance to win the race.”

The local horses include Winning Machine, who lost by a head last year after a stirring stretch duel with Taylor Said. Winning Machine will start from the No. 12 post and is 15-1.

Stryker Phd, second in three straight stakes races at Emerald, is 8-1 and breaks from post No. 5. Trainer Jim Penney, who has won a record five Miles, sends out Jebrica, the winner of June’s Budweiser Handicap at a mile. Jebrica will start from the No. 6 post and is 12-1.

Note

• A draw between Until You and Assessment was held to determine the final horse in the field and Until You won. That means for the first time in six years, the Mile field will be without Assessment, who won the race in 2009 and was third in 2010. Trainer Howard Belvoir lamented that Assessment won’t join former Longacres star Kent Green as horses who have run in the race six times.

$200,000 Longacres Mile draw
Post time is 5:32 p.m. Sunday at Emerald Downs.
PP Horse Jockey Trainer Wt ML
1 Until You Juan Gutierrez David Martinez 114 30
2 Hoist Mario Gutierrez Mike Puhich 117 20
3 Politicallycorrect Russell Baze Wesley Ward 121 7-2
4 Gladding Dennis Carr Vann Belvoir 116 10
5 Stryker Phd Debbie Hoonan Margo Lloyd 118 12
6 Jebrica Isaias Enriquez Jim Penney 118 12
7 Golden Itiz Gerry Olguin John Sadler 116 5
8 Tres Borrachos David G. Lopez Mike Puhich 118 10
9 Why Not Be Perfect A. Sanguinetti Jeff Metz 118 15
10 Herbie D Amadeo Perez Robert Gilker 121 4
11 Mr. Bowling Aaron Gryder Mike Puhich 117 6
12 Winning Machine Javier Matias Frank Lucarelli 117 15

Scott Hanson: 206-464-2943