01/18/2008 1:00AM

Ex Mountain Cop mounting a comeback


PORTLAND, Ore. - Ex Mountain Cop, who set the Portland Meadows track on its ear with four straight stakes wins by a combined 33 3/4 lengths in 2006, is on the comeback trail.

Ex Mountain Cop, 4, suffered an injury to a suspensory ligament at Golden Gate in January of last year and trainer Jonathan Nance feared the injury would end his career. The trainer is now far more optimistic.

"He has been back in training for 30 days now, and so far he is holding up really well," said Nance. "The vet says he is completely healed, so I'll probably start breezing him in a week or two. I'm really excited about getting him back. If he is still the same horse he used to be, we'll have a lot of fun with him."

Nance said it is unlikely that Ex Mountain Cop will be ready to race by the time the meeting ends on March 11, but he should run early in the Emerald Downs meeting, which begins on April 18.

Nance and his friend and rival, trainer Jim Fergason, were in Kentucky last week to attend the January sale at Keeneland. Nance said he purchased three yearlings, and Fergason bought seven.

Tom Two also on comeback trail

Another horse working his way back from an injury is six-time stakes winner Tom Two, who suffered a slight tear in a tendon in last season's Portland Meadows Mile Feb. 21. Trainer Delmer Webb thought he had the 4-year-old Tom Two ready for the Lethal Grande Oregon Sprint Championship on Oregon Championship Day, Dec. 9, but the colt tweaked his troublesome tendon at the 11th hour.

"I actually turned in an entry card for him, but when I went back to the barn and checked him there was a little heat in his leg," said Webb. "I had to withdraw his entry. It was the only thing to do."

Webb said he backed off Tom Two's training for a month and just recently stepped up the pace.

"He has been galloping for about a week now, and he is doing very well," Webb said. "I hope to get a race in him before this meeting ends, then I'll take him to Emerald. I really don't know what kind of horse he will be when he comes back, but I'm hopeful."

Lady's Purse staying for Oregon Oaks

Trainer G. D. Khalsa said Lady's Purse, who is scheduled to run in Sunday's $16,600 OTOBA Stallion Stakes at six furlongs, will likely remain at Portland Meadows through the running of the 1 1/16-mile Oregon Oaks on closing day, March 11.

"We were thinking of sending her to California after this race, but it makes sense to keep her here," Khalsa said. "She is really thriving over this track, and there will be enough races for her if we can get an invitational handicap to fill before the Oaks."

Khalsa said the 3-year-old Lady's Purse, who has 4 wins from 7 starts at Portland Meadows, exited her win in a six-furlong invitational handicap on Jan. 7 in the best shape of her career.

"She looked as good as she has ever looked in her first few days back to the track after that race," he said. "I have to believe she is sitting on another big race."

Ricky Frazier up for Seattle sports award

Emerald Downs rider Ricky Frazier is a finalist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Sports Star of the Year Award. Frazier, who was Emerald's leading rider for the third time in the last four years in 2007, joins Bobby Ingram of the Seattle Seahawks, Jon Brockman of the Washington Huskies basketball team, J. J. Putz of the Seattle Mariners, Louis Rankin of the Huskies football team, and ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek as finalists for the award.

The winner will be determined by a vote of attendees at the 73rd annual Seattle Sports Star of the Year awards dinner on Tuesday at the Westin Hotel in Seattle. Tickets are $75.

The 43-year-old Frazier had a dream year in 2007. At Emerald Downs, he won 157 races, including 12 stakes, to shatter long-standing records for both wins and stakes wins. After the Emerald meet, he moved to Monmouth Park and won the $250,000 Favorite Trick Stakes aboard Emerald star Margo's Gift on Oct. 26, and the next day he rode Smarty Deb to a fifth-place finish in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. To cap the year, Frazier rode his 3,000th winner on Nov. 17 at Turf Paradise.

Frazier, who is riding at Oaklawn Park this weekend, will return to Seattle Monday to attend Tuesday's awards banquet. He has reserved a table for 12, all of whom will be eligible to vote.

* The Oregon division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association will hold an auction of stallion seasons at Portland Meadows during the races on Sunday. Seasons to 25 Northwest-based stallions will be up for bidding at the silent auction, and the proceeds will be used to supplement the purse for the Stallion Stakes and to help fund the HBPA's political action committee.