02/16/2006 1:00AM

Charlie's Pride and Ballou Slew ship out


PORTLAND, Ore. - Only two horses left the grounds last Saturday, but the local barn area felt a lot emptier without them.

Charlie's Pride and Ballou Slew, the two most exciting performers at the meeting, shipped out for Golden Gate, and nobody could say when they might return.

Charlie's Pride, a 5-year-old son of Indian Charlie, burst onto the scene with a 5 1/4-length win over maiden special weight runners on Dec. 13. He came back to post a 1 1/4-length score over allowance foes on Jan. 16, then returned to defeat the most accomplished older runners at the stand - Tamper, My Friend Dave, and Silent Exploit - in a wide-open allowance race on Feb. 6, when he got six furlongs in a rapid 1:11.

With no local stakes for handicap runners scheduled until the March 18 Governor's Speed Handicap, owners Jim Seabeck and Gene Barber decided to send the Kentucky-bred Charlie's Pride to northern California trainer Billy McLean.

"I don't blame them," said R.G. Pierce, who trained Charlie's Pride here. "He'll have more opportunities down there, and he'll get to run for more money. I'll miss him, though. He is a tryer, and he is a nice horse to be around."

Pierce said that Charlie's Pride was put into training several times before he finally debuted late in his 4-year-old season, but that he was repeatedly sidelined by minor injuries.

"He is sound now, though, and I hope he does well at Golden Gate," said the trainer. "I don't know where Billy will want to run him. It's hard to know where they belong until they get beat."

Ballou Slew, a 3-year-old son of Slewdledo who races for Art McFadden, is also undefeated. He won a five-furlong maiden special weight race by 6 3/4 lengths in his Jan. 21 debut, then came back to defeat divisional leader Tom Two by 4 1/2 lengths in the six-furlong Flying Lark Stakes on Feb. 4.

Jim Fergason, who trained Ballou Slew at this track, said Ballou Slew was sent to the barn of trainer Art Sherman at Golden Gate.

"I think the plan is to leave him down there as long as he runs well," said Fergason. "If it turns out he doesn't fit down there, he'll be back."

Another bargain for Runyon

Trainer Dave Runyon made a memorable claim here in 2003, taking the then 3-year-old Chancy Chancy for $6,250 and promptly winning the Oregon Hers Stakes with her. Chancy Chancy, who still races for Runyon, has put more than $50,000 into the trainer's account.

Now the trainer is hoping to have a similar run with Royal Snowflight, whom he claimed for $6,250 in October. The 3-year-old Royal Snowflight came back to win the Lassie Stakes here in December, and upset the heavily favored Lawanda by a head in last Saturday's Ms. Stakes at six furlongs.

"She really ran a heck of a race," said Runyon of Royal Snowflight's effort in the Ms. Stakes. "It would have been a shame if they had taken her down, because she ran her eyeballs out."

Royal Snowflight survived a claim of foul for allegedly bumping Whos Knight Isthis at the three-eighths marker, and a stewards' inquiry for seeming to carry out Lawanda turning into the stretch. The stewards determined that Royal Snowflight stayed within her established lane throughout, and let the result stand.

Runyon said he would prefer to keep Royal Snowflight sprinting, but he will stretch her out to a route if necessary.

"She's not an Oregon-bred, so there won't be a lot of races for her here," he said. "We'll have to take whatever we can get."

Bullishdemands to get short break

Trainer Gene Davis said Bullishdemands will probably require a few weeks to recover from her game win in Saturday's six-furlong Sweetheart Stakes.

"The race really knocked her out," he said. "She hadn't raced in two months, and the track came up deep and tiring. She really had to extend herself to win, and she came back dead tired."

Bullishdemands has won three of four starts at the meet, all stakes, but Davis said she will not contest the final stakes for fillies and mares at the stand. That will be the Donna Jensen Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on April 8.

"I'd rather keep her sprinting for now," he said. "If we can find an allowance race or two for her, I'd love to run her here. Otherwise, we'll wait for Emerald Downs."

Roberts runners should make noise

Trainer Tom Roberts will begin entering horses here this weekend, and handicappers should take notice. Roberts won with six of his seven starters at last year's meeting before moving on to California, where he trained for owner James McIngvale.

Roberts, who won five training titles at Longacres, gave up that California post to return to his native Northwest. He arrived here last week with a dozen horses in tow.

"I've got five 2-year-olds that I bought in Keeneland, and I'll just be getting those horses ready," he said. "The others are horses with conditions that I bought to run here."

No Giveaway tops in Washington

No Giveaway, who won the Governor's Handicap and the Grade 3 Longacres Mile last summer at Emerald Downs, was named Washington-bred horse of the year for 2005 at last Saturday's Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association awards banquet in Auburn. No Giveaway was also named the state's top handicap horse, and his dam, Takeaway, was named broodmare of the year.

Other divisional titles went to Cinderella Liberty for top 2-year-old filly; Schoolin You, 2-year-old colt or gelding; Queenledo, 3-year-old filly; Norm's Nephew, 3-year-old colt or gelding; and Marva Jean, older filly or mare. Sabertooth was named the state's top sprinter.

The S.J. Agnew Special Achievement Award went to breeder and owner Dan Agnew, a former president of the WTBA.