All the attention leading up to the $200,000 Longacres Mile Handicap Aug. 18 at Emerald Downs had been focused on Politicallycorrect, the stakes winner and graded stakes-placed homebred of Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
After the Ramseys' remarkable day Aug. 17 at Arlington Park and Saratoga Race Course, getting three more Grade 1 wins for their stallion Kitten's Joy, the focus on yet another homebred in Politicallycorrect got more intense and bettors hammered him down to be the 9-5 favorite.
In the end, however, the glory went to a front-running hotshot named Herbie D from British Columbia, who set the pace in the Pacific Northwest's richest Thoroughbred race and never saw another horse. The 5-year-old British Columbia-bred gelding by Orchid's Devil -- Chili Chines, by Katowice, has now won eight of his last nine starts with six of those wins in stakes. The Longacres Mile was his first graded stakes victory.
Based at Hastings Racecourse, the gelding's lifetime record is 10-1-1 from 13 starts. He has earned $337,928. Herbie D is co-owned by his breeder George Robbins of Vancouver and Darcia Doman.
The Mt. Rainier Stakes July 21 at Emerald Downs turned out to be a harbinger of things to come in the Longacres Mile. Herbie D. won the 1 1/16-mile Mt. Rainier wire to wire, setting early fractions of :22 ⅗, :47 ⅖, and 1:10 ⅖. Finishing second in that race was Jim and Mona Hour's Stryker Phd.
In the Longacres Mile, Herbie D picked up the pace against a field of 11 competitors and set fractions of :22.71, :45.04, and 1:09.01 on a fast track. In deep stretch, two challengers separated from the back of the pack and launched furious rallies at Herbie D. They were Stryker Phd and Golden Itiz, ravenously gobbling the seven lengths between themselves and the leader.
Despite the effort, Herbie D hit the wire with 1 ½ lengths to spare. Golden Itiz was third, just a head behind Stryker Phd. The final time was 1:35.12.
Herbie D's trainer Rob Gilker and jockey Amadeo Perez knew they had the speed of the race.
"We wanted him to go, go, go," Gilker said. "We can breed a pretty nice horse in British Columbia. They come out running."
Politicallycorrect and Russell Baze raced wide throughout and gradually weakened to finish ninth.
Jebrica, who finished third in the Mt. Rainier, was fourth in the Longacres Mile. He was followed by Gladding, Why Not Be Perfect, Until You, Tres Borrachos, Politicallycorrect, Winning Machine, Mr. Bowling, and Hoist.
Herbie D, who shared top weight of 121 pounds with Politicallycorrect, paid $6.80, $4.40 and $3.20 as the second pick. Stryker Phd, at 15-1, paid $11.20 and $5.40, while Golden Itiz paid $6.20. The $2 exacta paid $64.60, and the $2 trifecta paid a healthy $444.80.