After the incredible hysteria that has surrounded the last two weekends in the Thoroughbred world, things kind of return to normal this weekend. There are a couple of graded stakes around the country and, in the interest of doing something different, They Are Off will take a look at Emerald Downs and the Grade 3 $300,000 Longacres Mile Handicap.
I will try to spring a minor upset in the Mile and take a horse with the local flavor in #12 Assessment. All six of his lifetime wins have come over the Emerald oval, including the Mount Rainier Handicap last time out on July 26. The works are impressive leading in with three bullets in the last four and I think his running style might allow him to get the jump on the deep closers because I expect him to be lying just a bit closer to the pace and his outside post should allow him a clean trip. #7 Awesome Gem will probably be an overwhelming favorite in the Longacres Mile and justifiably so. He just missed the in the Grade 1 Eddie Read at Del Mar last time out over the grass. However, his only win in the last eighteen months came in an Allowance race on turf at Hollywood Park two starts back on June 27. Russell Baze is in to ride the gelding on Sunday. #3 Kruger Park actually beat the top pick in two sprint races at Emerald back in May, but this is a longer race and Assessment defeated Kruger Park by almost four lengths at a mile in the Budweiser Emerald Handicap on June 21. The last workout for Kruger Park was a half-mile bullet on August 9. The Sire is 2001 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, Johannesburg. I will wrap up the top four picks with #5 Autism Awareness. The winner of the 2008 El Camino Real Derby also won the Grade 3 Berkeley over the artificial surface at Golden Gate two back. He followed that up with a disappointing 13th and last place finish in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup. He is another that could be coming at the leaders in the speedy ones fade at the end. Here is the play for the Grade 3 Longacres Mile:
$5 WP #12 and $1 EX BOX 3-5-7-12 and $1 TRI 7-12 with 7-12 with 3-5
Keep in mind that They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections, they are merely suggestions. Tune in again on Monday for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!