11/07/2001 1:00AM

Horse fools rider who thinks he can't win


PORTLAND, Ore. - Last Sunday's $8,175 Columbia River Stakes at Portland Meadows drew only five 2-year-olds to race over five furlongs, but race they did.

The favored Manito Gentleman, second-favorite Big Harry Deal, and third choice White Tie Ole battled hammer and tongs through a fast initial quarter in 22.84 seconds, and there was no relief for the survivors after Big Harry Deal dropped out a furlong later.

Brass Halo, who had been stalking the pace in fourth, ranged up on the outside and stuck a head in front as the field straightened into the stretch. At that point, Clark Jones, who was aboard Manito Gentleman, didn't much like his chances.

"I was on the deepest part of the track along the rail, and at the eighth pole I thought the horse on the outside was going better than my horse," Jones said. "I really didn't think we'd get there, but my horse kept digging in and, good things happen when you have a horse who will try like that."

But Manito Gentleman surged late to win by a half-length over White Tie Ole, who came on again to outfinish Brass Halo by a nose for second in 1:00.63. It was the second win in seven starts for Manito Gentleman, who races for former Washington racing commissioner Jim Seabeck. Manito Gentleman trainer R. G. Pierce believes there will be more wins.

"Mr. Seabeck only paid $1,200 for this horse at the 505 Farms dispersal in Washington last year, but he got a bargain," Pierce said. "He has always acted like a nice horse, and with a little better racing luck he probably would have won three or four races by now. I think his future will be going long, so I wouldn't be surprised if he turned out to be a very useful horse."

Stakes-placed and acquired for free

Owner and trainer Pat Sonnen, who races horses both here and in California with trainer Brent Sumja, may be able to top Seabeck's $1,200 bargain buy. Sonnen picked up Bigboystoy, a 2-year-old daughter of Corslew who won her first two starts before running second in last Saturday's $60,000 Bam's Penny Stakes at Bay Meadows, for free.

"A couple of years ago I bought her mare in foal to Corslew from Brent and Clay Murdock, who runs Rancho San Miguel," Sonnen said. "Her foal died at birth, so Brent and Clay felt sorry for me and gave me her previous foal to console me. That was Bigboystoy, and it looks like she might be the best horse I have ever owned."

The only drawback is that Sonnen had sold Bigboystoy's dam, Moscow's Buccaneer, by the time Bigboystoy revealed her ability.

"I had to track her down and buy her back for a lot more than I got when I sold her," he said. "I wanted to breed her back to Corslew."

Oregon-bred tops $300,000 mark

Revillew Slew became only the second Oregon-bred to top $300,000 in earnings when she won a $50,000 starter allowance race for fillies and mares on the turf Sunday at Santa Anita. The $31,800 winner's share boosts her earnings to $301,604. She has 11 wins in 31 starts.

Revillew Slew, a 5-year-old daughter of Can't Be Slew and Mischief Mud, began her racing career for breeder Larry Welliver at Portland Meadows under trainer Ben Root. She won the Lassie Stakes and the Janet Wineberg at 2 and the OTBA Hers at 3 en route to Oregon-bred divisional championships, and last year she was named Oregon's champion older filly or mare and horse of the year.

Revillew Slew trails only Polynesian Flyer, who won $346,525, on the all-time list of Oregon-bred money winners.

* Saturday's trials set up an interesting match in the finals for the $19,200 Oregon-bred Juvenile Quarter Horse Championship on Nov. 18. Tiny Rocket Dash stretched his winning streak to six races, taking the first of the two trials in 20.80 seconds for 400 yards. But Micro Meter won the second trial in a much faster 20:44. Isle Fly Easy, who finished a length behind Micro Meter in second, despite breaking from the disadvantageous rail post position, was the second-fastest qualifier at 20.57.