01/27/2005 12:00AM

Chancy Chancy proves she's fully recovered

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Owner and trainer Dave Runyon felt he had Chancy Chancy back to her best form when she defeated divisional leader Quiz the Maid in a one-mile invitational handicap at Portland Meadows on Jan. 8, but he couldn't be dead certain.

Chancy Chancy, a 5-year-old mare who won a pair of stakes here last season before being sidelined with a cracked cannon bone, had everything her own way that day. After fellow front-runner Pete's Dolly scratched, Chancy Chancy and rider Melissa Peery were able to dictate the fractions while saving enough energy to stave off the late charge of Quiz the Maid by a little more than a length.

It was a different setup when Chancy Chancy and Quiz the Maid were rematched under the same conditions last Saturday, because this time Pete's Dolly was present. Pete's Dolly had beaten Chancy Chancy to the lead and to the wire when they met in the one-mile City of Roses Handicap on Dec. 26, and most fans seemed to feel she could do so again. Pete's Dolly went off as the 6-5 co-favorite with Quiz the Maid, while Chancy Chancy was dismissed at 5-1 in a field of six.

Peery put Chancy Chancy on the lead at the start, however, and though she was hounded by Pete's Dolly throughout, she managed to put away that rival at the top of the stretch before digging in to hold on by a neck over Quiz the Maid in 1:41.61. Pete's Dolly held third.

"It was a lot harder this time," said Peery. "We actually got the lead pretty easy, but my mare couldn't relax with Pete's Dolly breathing down her neck. I thought for sure Quiz the Maid was going to get us at the end, but my mare had just enough left. I had to use everything she had, though. She was getting awfully tired."

Runyon didn't think there was any easier way to get the job done.

"I told Melissa to get the lead no matter what it took," he said. "It's not so much that Chancy Chancy won't come from behind, but I think it takes something away from Pete's Dolly when she doesn't get to the front. It made for a tough race, but at least I know she is completely fit now. It took a long time to get her back in shape after the injury, but now I know she is all the way back."

My Friend Dave may get shot at Portland Mile

Owners Corky Caron and Dave Benson have always had high hopes for their talented 5-year-old My Friend Dave.

"I thought for sure he would win the Oregon Derby when he was a 3-year-old, but he cracked his knee about a month before the race," said Caron, who also trains My Friend Dave. "It was a big disappointment."

Caron brought My Friend Dave back to win a pair of allowance races here early last spring, but he went to the sidelines again after making only one start at Emerald Downs in May.

"I sent him up there with Steve Fisher, and Steve felt his knee was still a little ouchy," said Caron. "That was all I needed to know. I didn't want to take any chances with him."

My Friend Dave returned at this meeting to run three lackluster races, but he woke up suddenly with a half-length win over Mt. Vista in a one-mile invitational handicap here on Jan. 2, then he validated that effort with a convincing win over the same rival in a 1 1/16-mile invitational handicap last Sunday.

My Friend Dave was forced to take up sharply at the three-eighths pole, and while he was going backward Mt. Vista was moving strongly to take the lead. Nevertheless, My Friend Dave rallied strongly through the stretch under rider Javier Ortega to prevail by a neck in 1:46.

"The leader stopped quicker than I thought he would, and I ended up having to check off his heels," explained Ortega. "It cost us our momentum, but he made another run and that impressed me. The other horse wasn't stopping, either, so my horse really ran big."

Caron feels My Friend Dave, who stands more than 17 hands high, may yet fulfill his potential.

"I'm starting to think about running him in the Portland Meadows Mile," he said. "They cut the purse from $40,000 to $20,000, but that might mean nobody will ship in to run in it. I think he might have a pretty good shot against the local horses."

* The 5 percent surcharge on simulcast wagers placed at Multnomah Greyhound Park, which serves as an offtrack betting outlet for Portland Meadows, has been lifted. The surcharge remains in effect at all other offtrack betting outlets in the state.

* The track has canceled the remaining handicapping contests scheduled for this season owing to declining participation.