Alert Bay to make horse racing comeback at Emerald Downs

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Alert Bay, whose $1,252,555 in earnings is the most of any horse stabled at Golden Gate Fields, makes his first start in 13 months in the Grade 3, $200,000 Longacres Mile on Sunday at Emerald Downs near Seattle.

The 7-year-old gelding has won 14 of 33 starts, including 10 stakes and six graded events, but he hasn’t raced since running third in the American Stakes at Santa Anita on July 4, 2017.

“He pulled up bad after a gallop and got himself eight months in the pasture,” trainer Blaine Wright said. “It wasn’t real serious but more aggravation for us. You never count on that stuff happening. It looks like he’s healed up, and he’s had no issues since then, and he hasn’t missed a beat in his work pattern.”


Alert Bay recorded workouts once a week at Golden Gate Fields from late May, going 5 furlongs five times and 6 furlongs three times.

“If the horse had been a stud colt, he would have been a sire somewhere,” Wright said. “Just up until the past 20, 25 years horses were at their prime at 7 and 8 years old. Now we retire them a lot earlier and we start them a lot earlier and they’re done a lot earlier.”

Wright is a native of Washington state who trains horses at both Emerald Downs and Golden Gate Fields. He and owner Peter Redekop of Vancouver, British Columbia, have yearned to win the Longacres Mile — the premier race in the Pacific Northwest in which Alert Bay finished third in 2015 and fourth in 2016.

“Peter and I both want this race on our resume,” Wright said. “We hope we’re not doing the wrong thing and hope he comes back and is the horse he once was.”

Alert Bay would have made his comeback in the Joseph T. Grace Handicap that was held Saturday at the Sonoma County Fair if Riser — another horse trained by Wright — hadn’t sustained a minor injury after winning his third straight stakes at Emerald Downs.

So Alert Bay replaced Riser as the favorite for the Longacres Mile and is the 9-5 morning-line choice against five opponents.

Alert Bay’s best races have come on turf — back-to-back wins in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile and two Grade 2 victories at Santa Anita. But he also has won four of seven on dirt surfaces like the one for the Longacres Mile.


“It’s going to be exciting,” Wright said. “I’ve been nervous for a month knowing what I know, gearing up for this start. Hopefully, he’s the only one who’s not nervous.”


Larry Stumes is a freelance writer.



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