12/07/2007 1:00AM

Intriguing matchup in Os West Futurity

EmailPORTLAND, Ore. - A marquee matchup in the $40,000-added Os West Oregon Futurity, featuring the exceptional juvenile fillies Jimbos Fire Ant and Lady's Purse, will highlight Sunday's Oregon Championship card. Jimbos Fire Ant, a daughter of Baquero from the barn of trainer Cookie Root, defeated Lady's Purse by 2 1/2 lengths in the six-furlong Janet Wineberg here on Nov. 4. In their next meeting, Lady's Purse, a Bagshot filly trained by G.D. Khalsa, evened the score by posting a neck decision over Jimbos Fire Ant in the Nov. 18 Lassie Stakes at six furlongs. Sunday's one-mile Futurity will serve as the rubber match.

Jimbos Fire Ant's participation was in doubt until last weekend, as she exited the Lassie somewhat the worse for wear. She ducked out in the stretch of that race and apparently grabbed a quarter, cutting her heel and tearing off a small chunk of her hoof.

"She was quite sore on that foot, and we had to stop training her for 10 or 12 days," said Root. "It never got infected, though, and the foot is fine now. Of course I'm concerned about whether she is fit enough to go a mile after missing that much training, but I'd be more concerned if it was any other horse. She is a tough filly, and she holds her fitness really well. I have a lot of confidence in her."

Khalsa said Lady's Purse is coming up to the Futurity in apple pie order.

"Things have gone pretty smoothly since her last race," said the trainer. "She worked a half-mile last Friday with Jack Ryan, who will run in the His Stakes. They galloped a half-mile at a two-minute lick, then they started out slow and finished strong in the workout. I was pretty happy with the way both of them went. You never know for sure if 2-year-olds will route until they do it, but she has given every indication that she will handle a mile."

Lady's Purse and Jack Ryan, a 3-year-old gelding who is coming off back-to-back wins over $6,250 company, were both officially credited with three-furlong works in 39.20. Both horses race for owner Mike Pollowitz.

Raley, Crispin qualify three for futurity

Trainer Scott Raley and rider Joe Crispin dominated last Sunday's trials for the $20,000-added Far West Futurity for 2-year-old Quarter Horses, which will be run at 400 yards on Dec. 16. Raley and Crispin teamed to win the three trials with Snip N Dale, who qualified in 20.50 seconds, Victorysgotalotahope (20.85), and Cold Mountain (20.70).

It was the fourth straight win for Snip N Dale, a son of Okey Dokey Dale who won the $40,000 Portland Meadows Quarter Horse Futurity in November.

"Last spring I thought he was probably my best 2-year-old, but it took him a while to get his act together," said Raley. "Mentally, he was all over the place, and he ran greenly in his first three starts. I just decided to back off on him through the summer and let him grow up. He has been a much better horse since I put him back into training in the fall."

Raley said Crispin will have his choice of which trial winner to ride in the finals.

"I would assume he will choose Snip N Dale, but Joe has always liked Victorysgotalotahope," said Raley. "It's up to him. I really don't care who wins, as long as it's one of mine. Between the three of them, I should have a pretty good shot."

The three trial wins kicked off a big three-day week of racing for Crispin. He ended up winning five races on Sunday, then won all three races on Monday's storm-shortened program before winning six times on Tuesday. Crispin now has 66 wins with both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds through the first 27 days of the meeting, 40 more than his nearest pursuer, Clark Jones.

Gross and median down dramatically at sale

The average price fell 8.7 percent at last Sunday's Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association's winter mixed sale, but that doesn't begin to tell the story of a topsy-turvy auction conducted amid a severe winter storm.

While the average price for eight horses of racing age dropped 31 percent to $988, the average for 17 weanlings jumped 44 percent to $2,676. And while the average winning bid for 82 yearlings plummeted 30 percent to $3,694, the average for 29 broodmares soared 123 percent to $3,313.

Overall, 139 horses sold for a gross of $460,500, which was down 31 percent from the gross of $675,100 for 186 horses sold last year. And while the decrease in the average price seemed moderate, the median price fell from $2,200 last year to just $1,000. Sixty horses, or 28 percent of the 218 horses cataloged, failed to attain their reserves.

The sale topper was a yearling colt by Sky Mesa out of I'm Yours Joe from the consignment of Woodstead Farm who sold for $24,000 to Mike and Amy Feuerborn.