03/09/2006 12:00AM

Fettles Kin to take a shot at Oaks


PORTLAND, Ore. - Trainer Ben Root said Fettles Kin, a dominating winner over Oregon-breds in last Saturday's one-mile Mary Goldblatt Stakes, will take on open company when she races next in the 1 1/16-mile Oregon Oaks on April 1.

"She'll have to meet much tougher company in the Oaks, but I think she deserves a shot at them," said Root. "She is obviously a different kind of filly around two turns."

Fettles Kin, a 3-year-old daughter of Klinsman, had only a maiden win to show for eight previous outings, all at sprint distances. Given a mile to work with in the Mary Goldblatt, she exploded to the lead at the quarter pole and drew off to win by nearly nine lengths over heavily favored Cascades Express.

"The extra quarter-mile made all the difference," said Root. "She has been begging to go around two turns all year, and I was pretty confident that she would run big in the Goldblatt. I have a lot of respect for Cascades Express, but I thought a mile might be a little too far for her. It's probably not far enough for Fettles Kin. She is a little thing, but she never gets tired. I think she'll just keep getting better with more ground."

Cascades Express was bet down to 2-5 on the strength of two restricted stakes wins and two seconds in open stakes, including a runner-up finish behind stablemate Lawanda in the one-mile Mt. St. Helens Stakes, from five prior starts. She was coming off a two-month layoff on Saturday, however, and she could not go with Fettles Kin when rider Javier Ortega asked for her best on the second turn.

"I think the time off really hurt her," said Ortega. "She was in the garden spot the whole way, but she was flat when I asked her to run. She finally picked it up a little passing the eighth pole, but it was way too late. She just wasn't herself today."

Fettles Kin was ridden by Juan Gutierrez, who posted three wins on Saturday's card. After getting blanked on Sunday, Gutierrez came back to win with 4 of his 7 mounts on Monday. Since he resumed riding here more than two months after the meeting started, Gutierrez has ridden 42 winners from 111 mounts for a 38 percent win rate.

Beem turning pro

Jason Beem has occasionally spelled announcer Mike O'Brien at this meeting, calling about 20 races. That is the sum total of his race-calling experience, yet the tapes of his calls were impressive enough to land him the announcer's job at the upcoming River Downs meeting in Cincinnati, which starts April 14.

Beem, a 25-year-old native of Renton, Wash., has been working as a real estate agent, but he has no qualms about pursuing a new career.

"It's something I've always wanted to do," he said. "My dad used to take me to Longacres when I was just a little kid, and I would listen to Gary Henson calling the races. When I got home I'd ride around the neighborhood on my bike, whipping it with a stick and calling the race I was imagining. All the neighbors thought I was crazy."

Beem said he has practiced race-calling continuously, but he never had the opportunity to do the real thing until recently.

"I'm really grateful to Mike, and also to Dwayne Yuzik and Patrick Kerrison in the administration, for giving me a chance to call live races," he said. "They have been very supportive. Soon I'll be getting to call races full time, and I'm really thrilled about it. This is a big break for me."

Crimson Design sticking to schedule

Trainer Jim Fergason said Crimson Design is on schedule for an engagement in the six-furlong Governor's Speed Handicap on March 18, but just barely.

"I lost some time with him when the track was frozen a couple of weeks ago, but I think he'll be okay," said Fergason. "He has to run in the Governor's if he is going to run in the Portland Meadows Mile, so I'll do everything I can to get him ready."

Crimson Design, a 5-year-old son of Cisco Road, is a stakes winner at both Portland Meadows and Emerald Downs. He has not raced since last August, but he has recorded four works since Feb. 1, including a best-of-nine half-mile drill in 49 March 1.

Fergason said his other two older stakes winners, the 4-year-olds Typhoon Aaron and J. D.'s Date, probably won't be ready to run until the Emerald Downs meeting gets under way on April 21.

Seattles Best Joe euthanized

Trainer Howard Belvoir reported that his good sprinter Seattles Best Joe fractured a leg during a workout last week at Golden Gate and was euthanized.

"I guess everybody who has a horse break down says the horse was sound, but he really was," said Belvoir. "I still can't believe it happened."

Seattles Best Joe, who raced for Belvoir, Dan Corby, and Harley Hoppe, won the Emerald Express and the Captain Condo at Emerald Downs and the Sunny Slope at Santa Anita as a 2-year-old. Last year at 3 he won the Sausalito at Golden Gate. His career ended with 4 wins from 10 starts for $150,515 in earnings.

* The first condition book for the upcoming Emerald Downs meeting is now available in the race office. The track's director of racing, Paul Ryneveld, said there were 994 horses on the grounds early this week, which was about 80 more than were training at Emerald at the same time last year.