Updated on 09/17/2011 11:01AM

Glad to Be Here is still one to beat

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PORTLAND, Ore. - The journey to the Oregon Derby will begin in earnest on Sunday when Portland Meadows stages the $10,000 McFadden Memorial for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.

Derby hopefuls will have another chance to tune up in the March 22 Preview Stakes, also a $10,000 race at 1 1/16 miles. The Derby itself will be on April 13 at 1 1/8 miles, with a purse of $25,000.

Glad to Be Here is the divisional leader at present, having confirmed his upset victory in December's Oregon Futurity with a powerful allowance win here on Jan. 25, when he drew off to score by 3 1/4 lengths over Jitterbug at one mile. Also chasing Glad to Be Here home in that race were Cee Cruiser, Stately Jack Flash, and Yada Yada Yada, and all four of those pursuers will be back to challenge Glad to Be Here again on Sunday.

Stately Jack Flash and Yada Yada Yada join Glad to Be Here as the only stakes winners in the field of six, which is rounded out by Les Crime, a winner of two out of three starts against claiming company. Stately Jack Flash won the six-furlong Columbia River Stakes in December; and Yada Yada Yada won the six-furlong Bill Wineberg Stakes in his Nov. 17 debut.

Jitterbug and Cee Cruiser may rate as the most likely upsetters on Sunday. Both of the lightly raced geldings are improving rapidly. Jitterbug came back from his runner-up effort behind Glad to Be Here to win a mile allowance test on Feb. 15. Cee Cruiser, who ran fourth in the common race, returned to finish a close third in the six-furlong Flying Lark Stakes on Feb. 9.

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