09/22/2006 12:00AM

Flamethrowintexan doesn't have to travel alone

Email

AUBURN, Wash. - Flamethrowintexan shipped out Thursday morning for Chicago, where he will contest the Grade 2, $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles next Saturday.

Kay Cooper, assistant to trainer Jim Penney, said Flamethrowin-texan was accompanied by stablemates Grafton and Bardy Woman, who will also contest stakes on the Sept. 30 Hawthorne card. Cooper said the three horses flew to Chicago with two attendants.

Cooper's husband, Bryson, and barn foreman Adolfo Espinoza-Cabrera were scheduled to fly to Chicago on Friday. She intended to join them Sunday after saddling Chestnut Lady for Saturday's British Columbia Oaks at Hastings.

"Ricky Frazier will be at Hawthorne on Monday and Tuesday to work the horses," Cooper said, "and he'll come back to ride all three of them on Saturday."

Flamethrowintexan, who is coming off a win in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile on Aug. 20, put in his major work for the Hawthorne Gold Cup before the first race at Emerald Downs last Saturday. Under Frazier, the 5-year-old Flamethrowintexan sizzled six furlongs in 1:08.60, with fractions of 22 seconds, 44.20, 56.40, and 1:03. Though the work was believed to be the fastest ever recorded at Emerald Downs at the distance, it neither surprised nor upset his connections.

"That was the Tex that all of us know," said Cooper. "He is a little bit of a show-off, you know, and he likes to strut his stuff. We thought he might work that way, so we scheduled the workout two weeks out from the race to give him plenty of time to recover. He actually did it very easily, though. We'll probably have to do a little something more with him in Chicago."

The 6-year-old old Grafton, who is coming off a fourth to Flamethrowintexan in the Mile, is slated to contest the Grade 3, $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial at a mile on turf on the Hawthorne Gold Cup undercard. Bardy Woman, a 5-year-old mare who ran third to Queenledo in the $100,000 Emerald Breeders' Cup Distaff on Mile Day, will run in the $100,000 Indian Maid Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on dirt. Both horses are owned by Tom Tollen, who transferred them to Penney from the barn of trainer Bill Tollett earlier this month to prepare for their Chicago excursion.

Geller plans excursion to India

Announcer Robert Geller called races in Australia and Hong Kong before he became a fixture at Emerald Downs in 1996, and he will soon add another country to his resume. Geller has been invited to tour India's major tracks as the guest of the Poonawalla family, which operates one of the country's largest breeding and racing operations.

"I'll be going with Glen Murphy, who is a jockey in the Midwest," said Geller. "We'll arrive in India on Oct. 13, and we'll see derbies at one track on the 14th and at another on the 15th. I'll call a couple of races on each of those cards, and Glen will ride in a couple of races at each track. On the 16th we'll begin a tour of breeding farms, and we'll be back in the U.S. on the 23rd."

Geller said the trip was arranged by Indian announcer S.N. Harish, whom he met in Hong Kong.

"It should be interesting to learn about racing in India," he said. "I know they have some very nice horses, because some of them raced in Hong Kong when I was there."

Portland stakes get purse boost

Oregon horsemen welcomed the news earlier this month that overnight purses will be increased by 23 percent at Portland Meadows's 2006-2007 meeting. Similar increases in the just released stakes schedule may do even more to boost the quality of racing at the Portland track.

The stakes schedule includes 25 added-money events worth more than $413,000. In addition, the track released a schedule of 16 overnight handicaps, each with a purse of $7,500.

Eleven stakes had their purses doubled from $10,000 to $20,000. Those include the Inaugural Handicap for older horses on opening day, Oct. 8, and the Diane Kem Handicap for fillies and mares on the second Sunday of the meet, Oct. 15. The Oregon Derby, which will be contested on closing day, May 5, will be increased from $15,000 to $20,000, and a new stakes for 2-year-olds on May 5, the Kindergarten, will have a purse of $20,000.

The purse for the meeting's most prestigious stakes, the Portland Meadows Mile on Feb. 25, remains the same at $25,000.

Two $10,000 stakes that were on last year's schedule, the Flying Lark Stakes for 3-year-old males, and the Sweetheart Handicap for fillies and mares, have been dropped.