11/17/2004 1:00AM

'Cascadian' gets sweet revenge


PORTLAND, Ore. - Trainer Jonathan Nance was both disappointed and puzzled by Cascadiansasquatch's debut effort, a distant second to Eighty Eighty in the six-furlong OTBA Sales Stakes on Oct. 30.

But he wasn't discouraged. Nance was more than willing to let Cascadiansasquatch have another crack at Eighty Eighty in Saturday's $19,280 Bill Wineberg Stakes at six furlongs, and his persistence was rewarded.

As he had done in the Sales Stakes, Cascadiansasquatch sprinted clear early under rider Twyla Beckner, but whereas he gave way readily when Eighty Eighty came calling on the turn in the Sales, on Saturday he kept going. Cascadiansasquatch drew away to win by four widening lengths in 1:13.35, while Eighty Eighty was nipped at the wire for second by 18-1 shot Truth Buster.

"That was the way I thought he would run the first time," said Nance. "I'm still not sure why he didn't run better that day, but I'm glad he stepped up today."

Nance said Cascadiansas-quatch, who is trained by Allen Floyd, will now be pointed for the $41,780 Oregon Futurity Dec. 11. If he succeeds in that mile test, he will accomplish something his half-brother Houston Shuffle couldn't last year. Houston Shuffle, who was also trained by Nance, won his first three sprint outings by wide margins, but he tired to finish fourth in the Oregon Futurity.

"Cascadiansasquatch is quick like Houston Shuffle was, but he has a lot more size," said Nance. "I'm hoping that will help when it comes to handling two turns."

Abtastic pays off for Runyon

Some felt the 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight test for 2-year-olds that went as Saturday's sixth race would be tougher than the Bill Wineberg, which was restricted to Oregon-breds, and perhaps it was. The race drew Kentucky-bred and California-bred sons of such nationally prominent stallions as Tale of the Cat, Cherokee Colony, Free House, and Victory Speech. But it was an Oregon-bred who won.

Abtastic, who sold for just $2,400 at the OTBA Sale in September, scored by a head over the highly regarded favorite, Ahnold, in 1:06.65. Abtastic was making his debut for trainer Dave Runyon, who owns Abtastic with his wife, Patricia.

"I didn't get him until Sept. 25, so I have really been playing catch-up," said Runyon. "I wasn't sure he would be ready for his debut, but he didn't get as tired as I thought he would."

Runyon said Abtastic will run back in the open Columbia River Stakes at six furlongs Nov. 27, then point for the Oregon Futurity.

Runyon also had a ready explanation for Abtastic's modest sale price.

"He was a bucker, and I don't think anybody wanted to deal with him," said Runyon. "I guess I haven't cured him yet, because he bucked the rider off in the post parade today."

The rider, Javier Ortega, was uninjured and undeterred. Ortega contributed an aggressive ride to notch the second of three wins for the weekend.

I Can See You Now in huge upset

I Can See You Now was the last of 10 qualifiers for Saturday's $20,100 Oregon-bred Juvenile Finals for Quarter Horses at 400 yards, and he probably wouldn't have made the gate at all if there had been more than 14 hopefuls.

Nevertheless, I Can See You Now went to the front at the start under apprentice Kristin O'Donnell and never looked back, winning by a neck over Cocos Chasin Chicks in 20.57. Sent off as the longest shot on the board, at 40-1, I Can See You Now returned $82.20 to win and keyed an exacta payoff of $289 and a trifecta payoff of $6,607.

Bob Beckner, who trains I Can See You Now for his father-in-law, owner and breeder Dan Gober, said he was surprised, but not as surprised as most.

"It was only her third race, and she about got knocked down at the start in her other two," he said. "This was the first time she got out of the gate cleanly."

Roberts connects on first two

Trainer Tom Roberts had a strong start in his first week at Portland Meadows, scoring with his first two starters. Roberts sent out That Cool Cat for an easy win over $5,000 claimers Saturday, then saddled Takeit or Leave It to defeat $3,200 company Monday.

Roberts, who won five training titles at Longacres, said he has not made definite plans beyond the end of this meeting, but that he is considering campaigning at Emerald Downs this summer.

"I've been going back East for the past few years, and the money is good there, but it is a long way from home," he said. "I'm living in Idaho now, and it would be nice to stay in the Northwest."