01/05/2006 12:00AM

Cascades Express runs on short rest


PORTLAND, Ore. - Trainer Jonathan Nance says he believes in striking while the iron is hot, and the iron couldn't be much hotter than it is right now.

Nance, the defending training champion at Portland Meadows, won three races here on Monday, giving him five wins during last week's three days of racing. One of his recent winners was Cascades Express, who captured the six-furlong Jane Driggers Debutante on last Saturday's Oregon Championship Day program, and Nance plans to run her right back in this Saturday's one-mile Mt. St. Helens Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

"It will be a quick turnaround for her, but she is good right now and she came out of her race on Saturday really well," said Nance. "She ate up after the race, and she was lively on the hotwalker the next morning. I will take it easy on her this week, maybe just jog her a little, and she should be set to go again. Around here you kind of have to run them when you have a chance. If you skip a race, it can be a long time before you have another opportunity to run."

Nance has been looking forward to going long with Cascades Express, who has won 2 of 4 sprint attempts. Though she is by Cascadian, who has thrown mainly sprinters in his budding career at stud, Cascades Express is out of a stoutly bred daughter of State Dinner, and she appears to take after her dam.

"She is a big filly, and she has been relaxing and finishing really well," said Nance. "I will be surprised if she doesn't improve going long."

Nance also plans to start Lawanda in the Mt. St. Helens. Lawanda, a daughter of Pioneering, is still a maiden after two starts. She set the pace against maiden special weight company before settling for fourth at Golden Gate Fields on Nov. 25 in her last outing.

"We had her down south with Tommy Roberts, but there weren't many races for her so we had her sent up here last week," said Nance. "I bought her as a yearling at Keeneland and she is very well bred. Her dam was a stakes winner of $106,000 and her half-sister, R Lady Joy, won the Delaware Oaks and the Florida Oaks and earned $571,000. She is really cut out to be a nice filly."

Top Quarter Horses clash

Sunday's 350-yard Director's Handicap is shaping up as a showdown between the two most accomplished Quarter Horses on the grounds, both of whom are female. My Crowning Glory, a 6-year-old, has owned the handicap division here for the last two seasons, winning 7 of her last 8 starts at Portland Meadows, including 4 stakes.

One Fast Trick, a 4-year-old, has been equally dominant against her peers. She has won 8 of her 9 starts here at 2 and 3, including a sharp score in the Portland Meadows Fall Derby on Nov. 20. She will be making her first local start against older rivals on Sunday.

"I can't say I'm looking forward to running her against My Crowning Glory, but it will be a good test for her," said One Fast Trick's owner and trainer, Ron Raley. "My Crowning Glory has been dirty tough here, and I thought she validated her local form with a couple of real nice races in California last summer. I think we might have to get a little lucky to beat her, but if we do, it will be quite an accomplishment."

Memorable day for Ortega

Leading jockey Javier Ortega enjoyed another banner day here on Oregon Championship Day, winning the Sprint Championship on My Friend Dave, the Jane Driggers Debutante on Cascades Express, and the Os West Oregon Futurity on Tom Two. He didn't hesitate when asked what he will remember most.

"I don't think I will ever forget Tom Two's race," he said. "I couldn't get him to relax and we went way too fast early, then Cascadians Cuttie started inching away from him on the last turn. Cascadians Cuttie opened up about a length and a quarter on us in the upper stretch and I thought we were beat, but then Tom Two switched leads and came on again. What a gutsy horse."

Tom Two's performance put the cap on a 2-year-old campaign that saw him win 5 of 11 starts for $86,913. Tom Two, who is by Free at Last and out of Sushi Q., became the third foal from his dam to win the Oregon Futurity, joining Cyamaria and Tom Won. All three of the futurity winners raced for trainer Delmer Webb.

"I bought Sushi Q. and Cyamaria, along with Flying Huey and another horse who later died, for $10,000 when Cyamaria was a yearling," Webb recalled. "I guess that was about the best purchase I ever made."

Webb said Sushi Q. is still active as a broodmare, and that she has a yearling by Tribunal and is in foal to Tribunal. She will be bred back to Free at Last.

* Trainer Corky Caron said My Friend Dave, who regained his winning form in the Oregon Sprint Championship, will go next in the Tall Ben Invitational Handicap at a mile on Jan. 14. Among his likely rivals is Raggidy Rowe, who won the 1 1/16-mile Oregon His on Oregon Championship Day.