05/23/2002 11:00PM

Lasting Code sold; joins McMeans barn


AUBURN, Wash.- Lasting Code, the top 3-year-old filly in the Northwest, with four stakes victories from five career starts, arrived in the barn of her new trainer, Bob McMeans, on Thursday after being purchased by Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms for an undisclosed sum.

Lasting Code, a daughter of Lost Code and Cajun Nite who was purchased for $24,000 at the 2000 Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association summer yearling sale, raced for the British Columbia-based partnership of Ole Nielsen and Lola McCarthy through her first five starts, which netted $96,065 in earnings.

Lasting Code won a pair of stakes last year at Hastings Park before her lone defeat, a head loss to Ashbecca, in the one-mile Barbara Shinpoch Stakes at Emerald Downs.

This season she has posted impressive victories in the six-furlong U. S. Bank Stakes and the 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Handicap at Emerald, defeating Strong Credentials (another Northwest Farms runner) on both occasions.

"It was a tough decision to sell her, because there is no doubt in my mind she is the real deal," said Nielsen. "We just got an offer that was hard to refuse, and I had to remind myself that I have 18 other horses in training and lots of bills to pay. I wish the new owner all the luck in the world with her."

McMeans said current plans call for Lasting Code to remain at Emerald and race in the Northwest.

"I'm very happy to have her," said the trainer.

"We'll try to keep her apart from Strong Credentials as much as possible," McMeans said, "but it won't always be possible. I think Lasting Code has proven her point, though. As things stand now, Strong Credentials can't beat her."

Lasix rule likely to change

Pat LePley, chairman of the Washington Horse Racing Commission, said he is confident the commission will adopt new rules regarding the use of the bleeder medication Lasix at its meeting next month.

The new rules will allow trainers to use Lasix as a preventative medication. Currently, horses must be certified as having bled by a licensed veterinarian before Lasix can be administered to them.

"I'm in favor of changing this rule, and I'm confident that the majority of the commission feels as I do," he said. "The new rule is more humane for the horses, and it is better for the public."

The change will bring Washington's Lasix rules into conformity with those in effect in Oregon, where Lasix has been permitted as a preventative medication for several years.

The discrepancy between Lasix rules in the two states has created confusion for Washington handicappers, who find themselves analyzing past performance lines for horses who ran with Lasix in Oregon, but are being denied the use of the medication for their first start in Washington.

Speed under control

Trainer Dan Markle won't say what tactics he will employ with Whatdidshesay in Sunday's $35,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs, but he is clearly glad to have a choice.

Whatdidshesay was a one-dimensional speed horse at ages 2 and 3, and she used her speed to good advantage in scoring front-running wins in a maiden event and an overnight handicap last year.

Whatdidshesay has come from off the pace in three starts at this meeting, however, and she seemed to perfect her new style in her most recent outing, on May 12, when she posted a five-length victory over allowance company in 1:14.80 for 6 1/2 furlongs after racing in third position early.

"She is a little older and a little more mature now, so we thought it was time to teach her something new," said Markle.

"There always seems to be three horses who want to cut suicidal fractions in these stakes races," the trainer said. "Why should we make her the fourth?"

Markle said he has been working to get Whatdidshesay to relax early in her morning workouts, letting her run full-bore only from the three-eighths pole to the wire.

"She has a lot of zip, but we want her to use it where it does the most good," he said.

"Most of the time that is down the lane, and I think we've got her now to where she will wait for the rider to ask her to run."

But what if Whatdidshesay lands in a spot where there are no other front-runners?

"Then the rider will kiss to her and she'll take off," said Markle.

"We're not trying to take her speed away from her. We're trying to get her to respond to stimulus.

"It's nice to be able see what happens when the gate opens and then try to take advantage of whatever develops. We're trying to get to that point with this filly, and I really think she is getting the hang of it. It's making her a better horse."