11/10/2006 12:00AM

Ex Mountain Cop eyes sales stakes sweep


PORTLAND, Ore. - The chances that Ex Mountain Cop will be able to complete a sweep of the OTBA Sales Stakes and the Dec. 10 running of the Os West Oregon Futurity, thereby earning a $30,000 bonus, appear to have improved dramatically last weekend.

Ex Mountain Cop's stock soared when he won Sunday's $30,200 Bill Wineberg Stakes by a resounding 8 1/4 lengths in 1:11.05, good for a lofty 77 Beyer Speed Figure. In addition, his most feared Futurity rival, the outstanding filly Blackies Cuttie, faltered badly when she finished a distant third in the same day's $21,150 Janet Wineberg Stakes, which was won by Silver Patrona in a comparatively pedestrian 1:13.26.

Ex Mountain Cop, a son of Ex Marks the Cop who races for Californians Maynard Davis and Charles Novak, wasn't originally intended to run in the Bill Wineberg because it came only two weeks after his Sales Stakes win. The owners decided to supplement him to the race, for a $4,000 fee, at midweek - and trainer Jonathan Nance wasn't sure how he would react to the quick turnaround. Now he knows.

"It was a lot easier than I thought it would be," he said. "He had been racing once a month, but it didn't seem to bother him to come back in two weeks. He is very mature mentally, and I'm sure that helped."

Now that he knows Ex Mountain Cop can come back quickly, Nance is considering bringing him back in the Nov. 19 Columbia River Stakes at six furlongs before stretching him out for the Futurity.

"I'll have to look at the Columbia River now, but it will all depend on how quickly he bounces back from this race," said Nance. "The main goal is the Futurity, so I want to be sure he is at his best for that race."

Two beat 1-10 shot Blackies Cuttie

Blackies Cuttie was bet down to 1-10 in the Janet Wineberg and she looked like wheat in the bin when she opened up a couple of lengths on second choice Silver Patrona on the turn. But no sooner had she done so than Silver Patrona came back at her. Not only did Silver Patrona come back at her, she went right on by en route to a three-length score over the fast-finishing Little Cascadian. It was 7 1/4 lengths farther back to Blackies Cuttie, who barely held third over 40-1 shot Nik En Ack.

Blackies Cuttie was bumped hard from both sides at the start and rider Debbie Hoonan-Trujillo suggested that she may have been hurt, but trainer Ben Root said Thursday that was not the case.

"She seems to have come out of the race fine, so we're still trying to figure out why she ran so poorly," he said. "She goes back to the track tomorrow, so maybe we'll know more after she trains."

If Blackies Cuttie trains satisfactorily, she will be pointed for a rematch with Silver Patrona in the open Lassie Stakes at six furlongs on Nov.o19, Root said. Plans to go from that race to the $40,000-added Futurity on Dec. 10 are on hold.

As for Silver Patrona, she will be shooting for her third straight win in the Lassie. A daughter of Tiffany Ice, she posted a six-length victory in maiden special weight company before taking on the role of giant killer in the Janet Wineberg. It was a role for which her trainer, Jim Fergason, thought she was suited.

"I wasn't totally surprised," he said. "I only had her 30 days before I ran her in the maiden special weight race, and I thought she ran awfully well. She had to improve off that race, so I thought she had a shot."

EZ Speedy Leader gets job done

A third stakes on Sunday's card for Oregon-bred 2-year-olds, the Juvenile for Quarter Horses, went to EZ Speedy Leader by a nose over Be First Rose in 18.31 seconds for 350 yards. It was the fifth win from six starts for EZ Speedy Leader, who suffered his only loss when second to Hot Properties in a trial for the Juvenile. Hot Properties was scratched from the Juvenile after flipping in the gate, leaving EZ Speedy Leader to go off as part of an entry that was favored at 7-10. He didn't disappoint his backers, but he made them sweat.

"I think he was behind until the very end," said trainer Scott Raley. "I had him a lot tighter for this race than he was for the trial, and it paid off in the final yards."

EZ Speedy Leader will go next in the Dec. 3 trials and the Dec. 17 finals for the 400-yard Far West Futurity, which might have offered a very rich payday. There is a $100,000 bonus for any horse that sweeps the Portland Meadows Spring Futurity, the Firecracker Futurity at Grants Pass, and the Far West Futurity. EZ Speedy Leader won the first two futurities, but it turns out that he is still not eligible for the big bonus.

"The insurance policy for that bonus says that there has to be seven starters in each race," said Raley. "A bunch of horses got scratched at the gate before the Spring Futurity, and only six horses ran. It's a bummer, but it's no surprise. I knew there would be no bonus as soon as those horses were scratched."