01/26/2006 12:00AM

Cascadians Cuttie gets some time off to heal

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Last Saturday's OTBA Stallion Stakes was supposed to be Cascadians Cuttie's place to star, but he didn't even get to step onto the stage.

Cascadians Cuttie, who finished second to Tom Two in three straight juvenile stakes late last year, strained a ligament in his final blowout for the Stallion Stakes.

"It wasn't a severe injury, but it was enough that I didn't want to risk hurting him worse by running him," said trainer Ben Root. "I'll turn him out for two months to heal up, then bring him back at Emerald Downs. The silver lining is that he'll still be eligible for the nonwinners-of-two-races condition at Emerald."

Root tabbed Lovers Cascadian as a last-minute replacement for Cascadians Cuttie in the Stallion Stakes, but he, too, suffered a minor injury in his final prep.

"Again, it was nothing serious, but he was sore enough that I didn't want to run him," said Root. "The unfortunate part is that Larry Faist owns both horses, and they got hurt on consecutive days."

Silver River steps up

If the six-furlong Stallion Stakes shaped up as a production without a leading man, Silver River proved eager and able to assume the role. Silver River, who was coupled in the wagering with Mountain Band, ran down his entrymate in the final furlong and drew out to score by 1 1/4 lengths in the good time of 1:12.41. Red-hot rider Clark Jones, who was notching his 16th win and his fourth stakes win since the first of the year, engineered the victory.

"I was a little surprised he was able to beat his entrymate, because Mountain Band was coming out of the Oregon Futurity, and I thought he had a fitness edge," said trainer Jonathan Nance. "Silver River has taken a nice step forward every time he has raced, though, and I think he still has a lot of improvement left in him."

Silver River is from the first crop of Klinsman, and he is his sire's first stakes winner. Nance said he will probably race next in the six-furlong Flying Lark Stakes for 3-year-olds on Feb. 4, when he is likely to meet divisional leader Tom Two.

Ballou Slew may jump up to stakes

Another who might try the Flying Lark Stakes is Ballou Slew, an impressive winner of his debut here on Saturday. Ballou Slew, a 3-year-old son of Slewdledo and Aly's Scamper, recovered from an awkward start to defeat maiden special weight runners by 6 3/4 lengths with five furlongs in 59.18 seconds.

Ballou Slew is owned by the track's onetime president Art McFadden, who paid $9,500 for him at the 2003 Oregon Thoroughbred Breeders Association sale.

"He was a weanling at the time, but he was the sale-topper," McFadden recalled. "I always like Slewdledos, and Corvallis Dee" - who is also by Slewdledo - "had just won the Gottstein Futurity for me at Emerald, so I had to have him. It turned out that I had to feed him for almost three years before I got to see him run, so I'm glad he showed some ability."

Ballou Slew is one of several horses from the barn of trainer Jim Fergason who figure to make some noise before this meeting wraps up on May 7. Fergason reported that he put stakes winners Crimson Design, Typhoon Aaron, and J D's Date back into training here early this month.

"I'm hoping to get Crimson Design ready to run in the Governor's Speed Handicap on March 18 and the Portland Meadows Mile on April 8," said the trainer. "I'm just playing it by ear with the other two, but it would be nice to get a race into them before Emerald starts."

The Emerald meet begins on April 21.

Slewicide Cruise back galloping

Also back at the track is Slewicide Cruise, who injured a suspensory ligament after winning the six-furlong Seattle Handicap at Emerald with a Beyer Speed Figure of 104 last April.

"He has been galloping for 30 days," said trainer Robbie Baze. "I plan to start working him at Emerald in the middle of February. I won't hurry him, but if the weather cooperates I should be able to get a race into him here before Emerald starts."

Baze said the 6-year-old Slewicide Cruise, who has a four-race win streak, is eager to get back to work.

"He is so full of himself that I have to pony him to the track," said Baze. "The vets are really pleased with the way his leg has healed, and mentally he is just awesome. You never know how they will come back from an injury like that, but the signs are good."

* Aunt Sophie, who was named Washington's top older filly or mare for 2004, will be sent to Migalli Farm in Santa Ynez, Calif., to be bred to Event of the Year in early March, according to his trainer and co-owner, Dr. Charles Barth.

* An inch of new sand was added to the Portland Meadows racing surface on Tuesday and Wednesday. The sand is meant to replace material that was washed away by heavy rain over the past month.