12/15/2006 12:00AM

Ex Mountain Cop sails to record payday


PORTLAND, Ore. - Trainer Jonathan Nance suggested that Ex Mountain Cop might be able to win Sunday's one-mile Os West Oregon Futurity by running his normal six furlongs and then galloping to the wire, and that's about what he did.

Ex Mountain Cop sizzled the initial three-quarters in 1:11.20, .20 faster than he ran in winning last month's six-furlong Columbia River Handicap, then finished under minimal urging from rider Juan Gutierrez to complete the mile in 1:39.60 as the 1-10 favorite in a field of six. The final quarter-mile in 28.40 seconds won't win many accolades, but it was largely irrelevant because Ex Mountain Cop had already run his pursuers off their legs by the time he reached quarter pole with a six-length lead. He actually increased his advantage through the slow final quarter to 14 3/4 lengths.

The win was the fourth in a row for Ex Mountain Cop, a son of Ex Marks the Cop, and it wrapped up 2-year-old of the meeting honors. It also produced the largest payday in Portland Meadows history for owners Maynard Davis and Charles Novak. Ex Mountain Cop won the $27,060 winner's share of the Futurity purse, plus a bonus of $30,000 from the Oregon Thoroughbred Breeders' Association for sweeping the OTBA Sales Stakes and the Futurity. The $57,060 total eclipsed the $55,000 that Present Value earned when he won the 1989 Portland Meadows Mile under Bill Shoemaker.

While Ex Mountain Cop's victory was almost unanimously anticipated on Sunday, Nance said he never would have suspected that the gelding would accomplish such a feat when he first put him into training early this year.

"He was so uncoordinated that I couldn't even work him," said the trainer. "His legs were everywhere. I decided to turn him out and let him develop, and when I brought him back to the track in June he was a different horse. His best quality now is that he is so mentally mature. Nothing bothers him, and he'll do anything you ask him to do."

Nance said Ex Mountain Cop's versatility was key to his being able to win the OTBA Sales Stakes at six furlongs in October and the Futurity at a mile in December. He was the first horse to do so since the bonus was first offered 10 years ago.

"It's not easy to collect that bonus," said Nance. "A lot of nice horses have tried, including Lethal Grande, but it's tough to win two races at different distances with so much time in between. I'm proud of Ex Mountain Cop for getting it done."

Nance said he has no immediate plans for Ex Mountain Cop.

"I'll talk to the owners and see what they want to do with him," said the trainer. "He came out of his race well and I could go on with him, but he has raced seven times, and that's a lot for a 2-year-old. If they want to give him a rest, he has certainly earned it."

A day of daylight wins

Lopsided victories were the rule in the stakes run on Sunday's Oregon Championship Day program. Silver Patrona set the tone when she won the Jane Driggers Debutante Stakes for juvenile fillies by 10 lengths as the 1-5 favorite, then Confidential Lady won the Oregon Hers Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 8 3/4 lengths at 6-1. Lethal Grande followed with a seven length victory as the 1-5 favorite in the Oregon Sprint Championship, and Tom Two scored by 7 3/4 lengths as the 3-2 choice in the Oregon His Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Tom Two's win in the 1 1/16-mile Oregon His was especially noteworthy because it was his first outing since May.

"I don't think I've ever run a horse that far off that long of a layoff before," said owner and trainer Delmer Webb. "I really didn't know quite what to expect, but he wasn't as fresh as I was afraid he might be. He settled in very nicely and he finished well. I'm very pleased with the way he ran, but mostly I'm just glad it's over."

The Oregon His was the sixth stakes win for Tom Two, who has now earned $108,123 and has 8 wins in 17 starts.

Lethal Grande moves up to No. 2

Lethal Grande's tally in the Oregon Sprint Championship was his 21st win from 67 starts, and the $5,871 winner's prize boosted his earnings to $352,341. The 7-year-old Lethal Grande moved into second place on the list of Oregon-bred money earners, eclipsing Polynesian Flyer's total of $346,525. He trails only Revillew Slew, who has earned $383,824.

Lethal Grande has a chance to pass Revillew Slew at this meeting, as trainer Tom Longstaff said he is being pointed toward the $25,000 Portland Meadows Mile on Feb. 18. He will probably race at least twice before the Mile, including in the $20,000 Governor's Speed Handicap on Feb. 5.

* The Washington Horse Racing Commission held its traditional December dates meeting on Thursday, but Emerald Downs was granted a postponement. Emerald is expected to submit its request for 2007 racing dates at the commission's next meeting, on Jan. 11, 2007.