12/31/2003 12:00AM

Happy new year? No way


PORTLAND, Ore. - During Oregon-bred Championship Day on Dec. 13, trainer Delmer Webb had one of the best days of his long career, winning three stakes with as many starters, capped by a decisive victory in the Oregon Futurity by his own horse, Tom Won.

Less than two weeks later, the afterglow from that memorable day was abruptly extinguished when Tom Won died in his stall.

"His hock blew up earlier in the week, but we treated it and I thought we had the situation under control," said Webb. "I felt good enough about it to go home for Christmas, but when I got back to the track on Friday he was really dragging. I stayed with him all day, but the infection had apparently gotten into his bloodstream and he couldn't fight it off. He died that night."

Tom Won, a strapping son of Cahill Road who stood over 17 hands high, had 2 wins and 2 seconds from 5 career starts. The one-mile Futurity was the first route attempt for Tom Won, a half-brother to multiple route stakes winners Cyamaria and Yesss, and he figured to get better at added distances.

"I'm just sick about losing him," said Webb. "I thought he had as much potential as any horse I have ever trained, and he was just starting to show what he might be able to do. Then he was gone, just like that. It's quite a blow."

To make matters worse, Webb lost two more of his stable stars on Sunday, when Runaway Briartic and Cee Cruiser shipped out for Turf Paradise. Runaway Briartic, an undefeated 2-year-old, won the Columbia River Stakes in his second career outing. Cee Cruiser, who improved his record to 5 wins from 9 starts when he won the Oregon His Stakes on Oregon-bred Champion-ship Day, will be trained in Phoenix by Valerie Lund.

Webb owns his other stakes winner on Oregon-bred Championship Day, Oregon Sprint winner Yesss, and he will remain on the grounds.

"He's about the only good horse I've got left," Webb said. "I sure hope he has a good year, because he might have to support the whole barn."

Chancy Chancy still drawing raves

Those who saw Chancy Chancy's victory over Stately's Choice in Saturday's one-mile City of Roses Handicap for fillies and mares are still trying to figure out what happened in the final strides.

The top two finishers hooked up with three-sixteenths of a mile to go and battled head and head to the sixteenth pole. At that point, Stately's Choice began to inch away under Joe Crispin, opening more than a length on her rival with no more than 50 yards to go. Just when the outcome seemed decided, Chancy Chancy came on again from the outside and got up in the final jump, winning by a head under Twyla Beckner.

"It was a crazy race, but you know I always felt like I had a lot of horse under me," said Beckner. "She was just running in spurts, and she decided to spurt again right at the end."

Chancy Chancy may have spurted, but Crispin said that was only half the story.

"We were stuck on the rail, and the rail was pretty deep," he said. "My horse finally got tired of struggling in the going, and she just spit out the bit completely. I can't remember losing a race quite that way before. It was unbelievable."

Chancy Chancy, a 3-year-old daughter of Stately Wager, was claimed out of a runaway win over $6,250 company by trainer Dave Runyon in November. She came back to win by 13 1/2 lengths in the one-mile Oregon Hers Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Dec. 13, before defeating older foes on Saturday.

"I'm not sure how she won this race, but I guess it shows her last race wasn't a fluke," said Runyon. "It looks like she was a pretty good claim."

Surcharge at OTB's returns

The 5 percent surcharge at Oregon's offtrack betting sites, which was lifted during the month of December, has been reinstated.

Portland Meadows, which effectively paid the surcharge itself in an attempt to lure account bettors back to the OTB's, had hoped to extend the experiment, but could not justify the expense.

"We did see some shift in the wagering from the hubs to the OTB's in the last two weeks, but it wasn't as much as we hoped for," said general manager Jeff Grady. "It cost us a lot of money, but we presented it as a Christmas gift for our fans and that was what it turned out to be."