12/23/2004 1:00AM

Abtastic done playing catch-up


PORTLAND, Ore. - Abtastic clearly ran an exceptional race in the Os West Oregon Futurity at Portland Meadows on Oregon Championship Day, finishing a head behind Wice O Kat despite stretching out from 5 1/2 furlongs to a mile off his debut win a month earlier.

His effort appears even more spectacular once trainer Dave Runyon explained what it took to get Abtastic into the $41,780 race on Dec. 11.

"He bucked his left front shin in his first race," Runyon said. "I applied a quick blister and kept him in his stall for two weeks, so I really had to rush him into that race. I rushed him into his first race to get a race into him before the Futurity, so I have really been playing catch-up with him all along."

Abtastic will start for the third time in his career in Sunday's $20,000 Juvenile Mile, and his trainer expects to see his best effort yet.

"This is the first time I have been able to bring him up to a race the right way," said Runyon. "He came out of the Futurity better than he went into it, and he has really been training well since then. The catch-up is over now. I think he will be double tough this time."

Runyon feels he has a chance for a stakes double on Sunday with Abtastic and Chancy Chancy, who will take on the highweighted Quiz the Maid in the City of Roses Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile.

The 4-year-old Chancy Chancy won last year's City of Roses before being sidelined with a cracked cannon bone in January. She returned this fall to run a pair of sub-par races against allowance and invitational handicap company, then woke up with a good third to Quiz the Maid in an invitational handicap at a mile on Dec. 4.

"She was turned out for almost eight months, and it just took her a long time to come back around, both mentally and physically," said Runyon. "I thought she ran a lot better last time, and I have noticed a big change in her attitude since then. I'm still not sure she can beat Quiz the Maid, but I think she will be a lot more competitive. I'm real happy with the way she is doing right now."

Memorial for Norton

Memorial services will be held in the Portland Meadows Turf Club at 6 p.m. Monday for trainer Norbert "Nub" Norton, 76, who died of cancer last Saturday.

Norton was born in Minnesota, but he grew up in tiny Turner, Ore., with two other prominent Northwest trainers, Delmer Webb and Bud Klokstad. In more than 50 years of training, Norton campaigned numerous stakes winners, including Judy B., Travel Orb, and D.B's Dream. Norton won six training titles at Portland Meadows from 1968 through 1980, and he was the leading trainer at Longacres in 1975.

Norton remained active at Emerald Downs and Portland Meadows until this fall, when his illness forced him to turn his horses over to his friend Sam Dronen.

Time off for Beluga Star

Trainer Gary Klinger reported that Beluga Star, who ranks as the leading older Quarter Horse on the grounds after posting his third straight stakes win in last Friday's Candy Cane Handicap at 870 yards, will be given a vacation.

"I talked it over with his owner, Juan Leon, and we agreed that he is due for a rest," said Klinger. "We might try to bring him back in time for the Mayor's Cup here on closing day [April 24]."

In winning the Candy Cane by a neck over defending champion Snowbound Queen, Beluga Star broke his own track record of 45.42 seconds by getting the distance in 45.06. He was ridden by Tim Neal, who is now 4 for 4 aboard the 7-year-old Beluga Star.

"We get along well together," said Neal. "I ride him like a Thoroughbred in these 870-yard races. I take a hold of him on the turn and give him a breather. If I rode him like a Quarter Horse, he wouldn't finish the way he does. He does everything I ask of him, and he is just awesome right now."

One Fast Trick takes futurity

Another Quarter Horse, One Fast Trick, won the richest race of the meeting last Saturday for breeder, owner, and trainer Ron Raley, proving a neck best in the $59,000 Far West Futurity at 400 yards.

The $23,600 winner's prize helped to ease the sting of One Fast Trick's lone loss from eight starts, which came when a $100,000 bonus was on the line in the 400-yard Northwest Futurity here on Oct. 30. One Fast Trick, a filly, finished second to the gelding One Fast Okie in that race.

"I would have liked to win that bonus, but I didn't lose any sleep over it," said Raley. "I've been around long enough to know that you have to take what you can get in this business. I'm happy winning this race, and I'm just tickled to death to have a horse as good as this filly is. I know she is the best horse I've ever had."

Raley said One Fast Trick will likely get a break, then she will be pointed toward a filly and mare Challenge race at Sun Downs in April.