10/19/2007 12:00AM

Ex Mountain Cop may try comeback from injury

EmailPORTLAND, Ore. - Ex Mountain Cop, who began a remarkable four-race win streak in last year's edition of the OTBA Sales Stakes, will soon be starting on a comeback trail after recovering from a career-threatening injury to his suspensory ligament, trainer Jonathan Nance said.

"I've seen him on the farm and he looks really good," Nance said. "You'd never know anything happened to him. We'll bring him back to the track in a week or so to have him ultrasounded. If everything looks good, I'll put him back in training. There is still no guarantee that he will make it back to the races, but he deserves a shot at it. He has a ton of talent."

Ex Mountain Cop, 3, won last year's Sales Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths. He followed that win with an 8 1/4-length win in the Bill Wineberg, a 9 1/2-length score in the Columbia River, and a resounding 14 3/4-length victory in the Os West Futurity. Along the way he collected a $30,000 bonus for being the first horse to sweep the Sales Stakes, the Wineberg and the Futurity, bringing his season earnings to the brink of the $100,000 plateau. He was then shipped to Golden Gate, where he suffered the ligament injury while training.

Delegocho choice in Sunday's Sales Stakes

This year's bonus for the Sales Stakes-Wineberg-Futurity sweep is $25,000, and only the winner of Sunday's six-furlong OTBA Sales Stakes will be eligible to win it. Nance has a candidate again this year, Soft Unit, but he cannot be considered among the favorites after finishing a distant sixth in his maiden special weight debut on Oct. 7.

Still, Nance thinks that Soft Unit, a son of Soft Gold who was purchased as a weanling for $5,100, is better than he looks on paper.

"He can actually run, but it's like he has attention deficit disorder," Nance said. "He lost focus as soon as the dirt started hitting him in the face, but he really finished well once he was in the clear. I suspected he would run like that first time out, but I think he learned a lot from the experience. He should move forward this time."

The logical favorite for the Sales Stakes is Delegocho, a son of Ochoco who is trained by Cookie Root. Delegocho finished a close third in his debut at Emerald Downs, then came back to lose by a head to Jimmie the Grouch in the same maiden special weight race that Soft Unit was in, on Oct. 7.

"He probably should have won that race, but the inside was very deep that day and he ended up having to come through on the rail," Root said. "He bogged down just enough to get beat, but he ran a very good race. He is a nice colt, very professional, and we're hoping for good things from him at this meeting."

Two Webb claims aiming for Diane Kem

Trainer Delmer Webb claimed two horses during the waning days of the Emerald Downs meet, and both have already begun to return dividends. Webb took the 6-year-old mare Bellamente out of a win against $7,500 claimers on Sept. 7, then wheeled her back to win a five-furlong allowance race on this track's Oct. 7 opening day program. He also claimed the 3-year-old filly Lady Yodeler for $7,500, and she came back to win last Sunday's featured 5 1/2-furlong invitational handicap for fillies and mares at odds of better than 6-1.

"I'm pretty proud of both of them, but I'm especially excited about Lady Yodeler," said Webb. "She is a big, long-striding filly, and she will probably be at her best going long. She proved she can sprint, though, so I'll run her in whatever comes up."

Webb was planning to run both Bellamente and Lady Yodeler back in separate allowance races this weekend, after which they will both be pointed toward the $20,000 Diane Kem Handicap for fillies and mares at six furlongs on Nov. 11.

Stevenson may turn out Mystic Wood

Trainer Roger Stevenson said he doesn't know what is next for Mystic Wood, who was last weekend's most impressive winner. Mystic Wood, a 3-year-old son of Forest Wildcat, won an allowance race on Monday by more than six lengths in 1:10.60, the fastest clocking at the distance at this meeting. It was his fourth win in eight starts since being purchased privately by Stevenson in the spring.

"I'm thinking of turning him out until Emerald opens," Stevenson said. "He won three races up there last summer, so I know he likes the track. On the other hand, he is going really good now and it might be the right time to try to stretch him out. We'll see what comes up for him. I won't have to make a decision for a couple of weeks."

Smarty Deb settles in for BC try

Trainer Doris Harwood said Smarty Deb, who will run in the $2 million Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies next Saturday, has settled in nicely since arriving at Monmouth Park on Oct. 5.

"I'm really glad we came early, because it took a few days for her to adjust to the humidity here," said Harwood. "The first few times I sent her to the track, she came back all lathered up. She is doing beautifully now, though. She has adjusted. She is full of energy and ready to run."

Harwood said regular rider Ricky Frazier was scheduled to fly in to work both Smarty Deb and Margo's Gift, who will run in the $250,000 Favorite Trick Handicap at Monmouth on Friday.

Rochabrun suffers dislocated elbow

Jockey John Rochabrun expects to miss two weeks after dislocating his elbow in a spill last Sunday. "I could probably come back sooner, but I want to make sure it is fully healed," he said.

He was unseated when his mount in the fifth race, Dapper Prospect, fell. Dapper Prospect was euthanized.