01/26/2007 12:00AM

Ex Mountain Cop's career in jeopardy


PORTLAND, Ore. - Ex Mountain Cop, who won four straight stakes at the current Portland Meadows meeting before shipping to northern California late last year, was injured in a workout at Golden Gate and will be out of action indefinitely, according to trainer Jonathan Nance.

"He broke a sesamoid," said Nance, referring to one of two small bones located above and at the back of the fetlock joint. "I understand it was a bad break, and there is a question of whether he will be able to race again."

Ex Mountain Cop, an Oregon-bred son of Ex Marks the Cop, won the OTBA Sales Stakes, the Bill Wineberg, the Columbia River, and the Os West Futurity by a combined 33 3/4 lengths last year as a 2-year-old. He earned $67,833 for owners Maynard Davis and Charles Novak. Ex Mountain Cop also collected a $30,000 bonus when he became the first horse to score a double in the Sales Stakes and the Futurity, but that money was deemed a statebred award and is not included in his official earnings.

"It is a real shame that he was hurt," said Nance. "He was very dominant in his division here, but the owners wanted to see what he could do in California."

Ex Mountain Cop never raced in California. Trainer John Martin entered him in the Stinson Beach Stakes at Golden Gate on New Year's Day, but he was scratched from that race.

Lethal Grande sharpens for Mile

Lethal Grande took another step toward the Feb. 25 running of the $25,000 Portland Meadows Mile last Sunday, posting an authoritative 2 1/4-length victory over Crimson Design and three others in the featured invitational handicap at five furlongs.

Lethal Grande, an 8-year-old son of Corslew, got the distance in 58.61 seconds, just .61 of a second off the track record set by Pajone's Hostess in 1977 and equaled by Bob Seldom Dances a year later.

"He really did it very easily," said rider Javier Ortega. "I let him settle once we cleared the field, then he was just cruising along to the top of the stretch. They started coming to him at that point, so I hit him once and he drew off. He had plenty left at the end."

Lethal Grande is slated to race once more, in the $20,000 Governor's Speed Handicap at six furlongs on Feb. 5, before attempting to win his second Portland Meadows Mile. He won the race in 2004, but did not contest the last two runnings.

Wins in both the Governor's Speed and the Mile would push Lethal Grande to the brink of becoming the richest Oregon-bred in history. He has $356,769 in earnings and ranks second on the list of Oregon-bred earners behind Revillew Slew, who earned $383,824.

Charlie's Pride awaits Speed

Charlie's Pride, who won last year's Portland Meadows Mile, passed on taking on Lethal Grande in last Sunday's invitational handicap. Charlie's Pride, who has not raced since last spring, was entered in the race when it was originally carded on Jan. 14, but trainer R. G. Pierce decided not to enter him back.

"I thought I had him ready when the race first came up, but then we got hit by the bad weather and they had to cancel racing that weekend," said Pierce. "The track was closed for training last week, and I thought he lost a little too much conditioning. He is a big-bodied horse, and it takes a lot of work to get him fit."

Pierce said he hopes to have Charlie's Pride, who worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 on Tuesday morning, ready for the Governor's Speed. He said he will determine the status of the 6-year-old Charlie's Pride for the Mile after that race.

Meanwhile, Pierce sent out Charlie's Pride's 4-year-old full sister, Indian Jane, for a six-length victory over maiden special weight company in her second career start on Tuesday.

"I don't know if she'll be another Charlie's Pride, but I like her quite a bit," said the trainer.

Crispin pursues record

Leading rider Joe Crispin picked up where he left off when racing resumed last weekend, notching three wins on Sunday, two on Monday, and six on Tuesday. He now has 90 Thoroughbred wins through 41 days of racing at this meeting, which was originally scheduled to run 78 days. Three days of racing, Jan. 14, 15, and 16, were canceled because of severe weather and an uneven racing surface.

Crispin is chasing Gary Stevens's record of 126 Thoroughbred wins here, which the Hall of Fame rider set at the 92-day 1982-83 meeting.

"I think I'm still in good shape to break the record if I can stay healthy and avoid getting suspended," said Crispin. "It would help if they make up the lost racing days, though."

General manager Dwayne Yuzik said no decision has been made regarding making up the lost racing days. Yuzik said if the days are to be made up, the track will add three Sundays in March or April. Sundays are currently scheduled to be dark during those months.

* A memorial service for Emerald Downs simulcast coordinator Chuck Potter, who suffered a fatal heart attack on Jan. 11, will be held at Emerald after the track's racing season begins in April. An online memorial has been posted at www.bonneywatson.com.