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Bailoutheminister headed to Longacres Mile | Emerald Downs

Bailouttheminister and jockey Russell Baze wins the Sam J. Whiting Handicap at Pleasanton, Calif. on July 4, 2012. - Bill Vassar Photo
Bailouttheminister and jockey Russell Baze wins the Sam J. Whiting Handicap at Pleasanton, Calif. on July 4, 2012.
— image credit: Bill Vassar Photo

Keith Nations is based at Golden Gate Fields, but the 51-year-old trainer has ties to Seattle and Emerald Downs and knows all about the Longacres Mile.

In fact, Nations owns a home in Ravenna in northeast Seattle, and his wife works in marketing at the University of Washington. Moreover, Nations’ first job in horse racing was with trainer David Doutrich at Emerald Downs, and Nations was an assistant trainer for Tom Wenzel when The Great Face won the Longacres Mile in 2007.

So Nations knows what The Mile means to Northwest racing*“It’s a big deal,” he says. And he knows that it takes a certain type horse to win Emerald Downs’ most prestigious race*“Fast, and with tactical speed.”

Nations hopes he has the horse to win the 77th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile (G3) on Sunday, Aug. 19. Bailouttheminister, a 4-year-old California-bred gelding by Ministers Wild Cat owned by Theresa and Edward DeNike of Kent, Wash., has won three of his last four starts for Nations, including the six-furlong Sam J. Whiting Handicap last month at Pleasanton.

Sunday at Golden Gate, Bailoutheminister will work seven furlongs for the third time since the July 4 victory, as Nations obviously attempts to build stamina in his sharp sprinter. Regular rider and three-time Longacres Mile-winning jockey Russell Baze already has committed for the ride in The Mile.

Assuming all goes well, Bailouttheminister will ship to Emerald Downs on Aug. 8 and be stabled with Wenzel. Nations will commute between Emerald Downs and Northern California, where his barn is a hot 12-for-54 (22 percent) in 2012.

In the Sam J. Whiting, Bailouttheminister ran six furlongs in 1:09 and earned a career-high 98 Beyer. It was only his second career start on dirt, which of course is the surface he races on in The Mile.

“The horse just keeps getting better and better,” Nations said. “He’s probably a better sprinter, but his style should be great for the Longacres Mile.”

Nominations close Sunday for the Longacres Mile and $65,000 Emerald Distaff.

NEIL KNAPP AND ’VIXEN QUEEN READY FOR ANGIE C

In the midst of a sparkling 2012 meeting at Emerald Downs, trainer Neil Knapp hopes to continue the momentum Sunday when he saddles Valid Vixen Queen in the $50,000 Angie C Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs (Race 8, 5:39 p.m.)

A possible candidate for Top Training Achievement, Knapp set an Emerald Downs career-high last week while notching his 17th and 18th victories at the meeting. The veteran conditioner has been scorching lately, winning eight-of-18 races in July including six of his last nine. Incidentally, it was Valid Vixen Queen that sparked Knapp’s victory downpour with her triumph in the July 1 Son of Briartic Stakes. Knapp said a repeat could be well within her reach this weekend.

“With 2-year-olds you never really know for sure, but she acts like one that will really compete,” Knapp said. “She runs down the stretch like she really means business.”

She’ll have to mean business to hold off a pair of royally bred Tom Wenzel trainees. Owned and bred by Jerre Paxton of Northwest Farms, Blueberry Smoothie and Goin to the Window have recorded the top two Beyer Speed Figures for 2-year-old fillies this season at Emerald Downs.

A daughter of Giant’s Causeway, Blueberry Smoothie received a 66 Beyer after grinding out a 4-¾-length score in a July 21 maiden special weight. Goin to the Window’s 5-¾-length victory in a July 8 maiden allowance might have been more visually impressive, yet the Tapit filly earned a 52 Beyer*14 less than her stablemate.

Interestingly, Juan Gutierrez rode both fillies, yet chose to ride Goin to the Window on Sunday.

The field for the 17th running of the Angie C Stakes: 1, Supersymmetry, Javier Matias, 117; 2, Valid Vixen Queen, Debbie Hoonan, 119; 3, House of Hope, Leonel Camacho-Flores, 117; 4, Blueberry Smoothie, Gallyn Mitchell, 119; 5, Goin to the Window, Gutierrez 119; 6, Song of Seattle, William Antongeorgi, 119.

LESLIE MAWING CLOSING IN ON 2,000 CAREER WINS

Leslie Mawing rode 10 winners last week and needs just three victories to reach 2,000 for his career. The defending Emerald Downs riding champion has ridden at least one winner on 19 straight cards and begins the week trailing Juan Gutierrez 67-63 in the 2012 race.

Mawing, 38, is scheduled to ride only one horse Thursday, Koala Beach in the sixth race, but could achieve the milestone Friday when he rides in six races on the seven-race card.

RUSSELL BAZE TO BE HONORED LONGACRES MILE DAY

Washington native Russell Baze will be inducted into the Washington Sports Hall of Fame on Longacres Mile

Day, Sunday, Aug. 19. The ceremony will take place between races when Marc Blau, Executive Director of the Washington Sports Hall of Fame, presents Baze with a special plaque commemorating the honor.

Established in 1960, the Washington Sports Hall of Fame roster features 178 athletes and administrators in 18 sports, but Baze joins Basil James (1967) as only the second recipients from the sport of horse racing.

Baze, who turns 54 Tuesday, already is enshrined in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame and Washington Racing Hall of Fame, and has been honored with a special Eclipse Award, George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award and Jack Robinson Memorial Award.

A three-time Longacres Mile winner, Baze rides Bailouttheminister in the 2012 Mile. He is North America’s all-time leader with 11,664 wins (thru Wednesday) and his mounts have earned over $180 million.

NOTES: Week 16 honors: Jockey-Leslie Mawing (24-10-4-3; Trainer-David Martinez (3-1-1-0); Owner-Carlos Cerna, Bill Trabold & Ramsey Rutt (1-1-0-0); Groom-Levi Knapp (Neil Knapp); Washington Bred-Mike Man’s Gold (Keith & Jan Swagerty)*Mike Man’s Gold was given a 57 Beyer and runner-up Finallygotabentley a 56 for their efforts in Sunday’s $50,000 Premio Esmeralda Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings*Rocky’s Quest earned the week’s biggest Beyer, an 88, for his 1:14.17 clocking for 6-½ furlongs Sunday. In his last four starts the Blaine Wright-trained 4-year-old gelding has earned figures of 83, 82, 87 and 88, not bad considering Rocky’s Quest began the meet with a win vs. $12,500 claimers*Longacres Mile hopeful Jebrica was assigned an 80 for his 2-¾-length win in 1:14.77 for 6-½ furlongs last Saturday. It was a big effort considering the 4-year-old is better around two turns, and last year earned the biggest Beyer of the meet, a 98, for his win in the 1-1/8-mile Emerald Derby*The Washington sire Liberty Gold also had a big week with wins by Mike Man’s Gold, Jebrica and Restless Gold in Friday’s opener*Emerald Downs’ track announcer Robert Geller, a New York Jets fanatic, will have a hunch play in Thursday’s first race named Tebowmania, a debuting 2-year-old Cindago filly trained by Dave Bennett. Incidentally, Geller celebrated his 53rd birthday on Tuesday* Sunday’s edition of the “Paddock Preview Show” features The Daily Racing Form’s Nick Rousso who joins host Jacob Pollowitz to handicap the day’s races including the $50,000 Angie C Stakes. The show runs 1:05 to 1:20 p.m. in the paddock*Chaching Pete, runner-up to Marvin’s Magic in the July 21 feature @ EmD, runs in an $8,500 allowance race Sunday at Kin Park on the British Columbia interior circuit*Sunday’s $50,000 Jess Jackson Owners’ Handicap at five furlongs on turf at Santa Rosa features some local angles: Washington-bred Winter Warlock makes his 2012 debut for trainer Tim McCanna and Hexbreaker, owned by Theresa and Edward DeNike, seeks his 12th career win for trainer Keith Nations*2010 Longacres Mile runner-up Jersey Town is entered in Sunday’s $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) at six furlong. Shackleford heads the field of eight runners.

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