Trainer Frank Lucarelli and owners Roy and Ellie Schaefer are hoping to be smiling in the winner’s circle Sunday at Emerald Downs with a garland of roses draped around Mach One Rules’ neck after the 82nd running of the Grade 3 Longacres Mile.
The 4-year-old son of Harbor the Gold received the high weight at 123 pounds for the Mile for good reason.
The gelding is 6-5-2 in 15 career starts with earnings of $209,356. Mach One Rules won the $50,000 Budweiser Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs June 18 at Emerald Downs and followed with a victory in the $50,000 Mount Rainier Stakes July 19 at 1-1/16 mile.
The gelding rose to the top of the ranks this season at the Auburn oval after charging from four back to pass Prime Engine for the win photo in the Budweiser.
Mach One Rules took a two-length triumph over Bistraya in the Mount Rainier.
One more victory and Mach One Rules will hand Lucarelli and Schaefer a highly sought after trifecta of win photos.
Over the past two season Mach One Rules struggled getting past 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Barkley, trained by Howard Belvoir.
This season the tables appear to have turned, but Belvoir is no stranger to the Mile. He took back-to-back Miles with Wasserman and Assessment in 2008 and 2009.
Mach One Rules will also have to bring down the reigning Mile champ, Point Piper, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. Point Piper set a track and state record in the 2016 Mile stopping the clock at 1 minute, 32.90 seconds. Both Barkley, who won the 6 furlong Governor’s Stakes May 21 and Point Piper were pegged at 121 pounds.
Point Piper will be looking for his first win of the season.
Bistraya, Gold Rush Dancer and Stryker Phd received 120 pounds each.
The 8-year-old Stryker Phd won the Mile twice in 2014 and 2015. The Larry Ross-conditioned gelding will be making his fifth Mile appearance.
Prime Engine will be running at 119 pounds. Trained by Mike Puhich, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred ran second to Mach One Rules in the Budweiser.
He was scratched from the Mount Rainier due to a high fever.
The remaining assigned weights are Seattle Serenade, 119; Cowboy Rhythm, 118; Chief of Staff, 117; Dedicated to You, 115; Togrammashousewego, 115; Mike Man’s Gold, 114; Americanize, 113; Papa Frank, 113; Black Sona, 112.