11/24/2005 1:00AM

My Friend Dave tries to rebound


PORTLAND, Ore. - Is My Friend Dave ready to show his stuff in Saturday's William Kyne Handicap at 1 1/16 miles?

My Friend Dave, a 5-year-old son of Can't Be Slew, built a lofty reputation here last season when he won three straight handicaps before missing by a nose to Demon Warlock in the Portland Meadows Mile. Many figured My Friend Dave would pick right up where he left off last spring, but two starts at the current meet have netted only a pair of distant thirds, in the six-furlong Inaugural Handicap on Oct. 22 and the one-mile Polynesian Flyer Handicap on Nov. 5.

"I was actually very pleased with his race in the Inaugural, because he finished really well after dropping too far back early," said trainer and part-owner Corky Caron. "I did expect more from him last time, but Tamper was able to back up the pace and my rider [Steve Clausen] felt he had to make an early move to put some pressure on him. I'm not criticizing him for that. I'm just saying the horse probably wasn't ready to make a half-mile move, so I wasn't too surprised that he flattened out."

Caron feels that My Friend Dave is much fitter now that he has two races and another interim workout under his girth, and he is expecting an improved performance in the Kyne.

"I haven't really pushed him to get ready, because it is a long season and I hope to keep him going through the Portland Meadows Mile in April," Caron said. "He should be ready now, though, and I really don't see why he shouldn't be as good as he was last year."

Tamper gets nod from Fergason

Owner David Green and trainer Jim Fergason had an interesting choice to make for the Kyne, as they could have run either Tamper or Colony Lane. Tamper won the Polynesian Flyer, while Colony Lane is coming off a pair of runaway wins against claiming company.

"We originally nominated both of them, but they are both front-runners and we didn't want to run them against each other," said Fergason. "We finally decided to pull Colony Lane's nomination and go with Tamper. We'll probably send Colony Lane down to Golden Gate."

Fergason said he doesn't necessarily feel that Tamper is better than Colony Lane, who posted an 88 Beyer while defeating $8,000 foes by 11 1/4 lengths here Nov. 12.

"The deciding factor is that Colony Lane started for $3,500 in October, so he is eligible for all sorts of starter allowance races in California," said the trainer. "If we kept him here and sent Tamper to California, Tamper would probably have to run for a $20,000 tag. It's kind of a no-brainer."

Cascades Express may face males

Last Saturday's renewals of the Bill Wineberg and the Janet Wineberg for Oregon-bred 2-year-olds produced several candidates for the Dec. 17 running of the $40,000 Os West Oregon Futurity at a mile, including a filly.

Cascades Express, a daughter of Cascadian who races for Allen Floyd and trainer Jonathan Nance, won the six-furlong Janet Wineberg in 1:14.55, roughly 1.50 seconds slower than Tom Two needed to win the Bill Wineberg later on Saturday's card. She is also eligible for the $10,000 Jane Driggers Debutante on the Dec. 17 Oregon Championship Day program, and that race figures to be much softer than the Futurity. Nevertheless, Nance said he is tempted to send Cascades Express in quest of the larger Futurity purse.

"I'm just not convinced the boys want to go a mile, and I'm sure my filly does," said Nance. "She didn't run as fast as the boys did on Saturday, but it was only her second career start and she is still very green. I think she has a lot of potential to improve, especially going long."

A victory by Cascades Express in the Os West Oregon Futurity would hardly be unprecedented. Cyamaria beat the boys in the 1999 Futurity, and Wice O Kat prevailed over males in last year's renewal.

No worries for One Fast Trick

It is the job of a trainer to sweat the details, so Ron Raley was only doing his duty when he fretted over One Fast Trick's chances in last Sunday's PM Fall Quarter Horse Derby. Raley noted that One Fast Trick hadn't raced since last June, and that the derby's 400-yard distance might be beyond her best. He also worried that One Fast Trick, who seemed fully mature as a 2-year-old, didn't have as much room for improvement as her rivals.

"They may have caught up with her by now," he said.

The fans had no such qualms, betting One Fast Trick down to 4-5 in the seven-horse field, and she looked like an overlay as she led throughout to score a half-length victory over Hannibal Lector in a quick 20.64 seconds.

It was One Fast Trick's 10th win from 15 career starts, and her eighth win from nine starts at Portland Meadows. The $4,100 winner's prize boosted her career earnings to $80,101.

"I'd like to get her over $100,000 in earnings before I breed her, so I plan to run her as a 4-year-old," said Raley.

The trainer, who also owns One Fast Trick, said his filly will try older rivals for the first time in the 400-yard Columbia River Handicap on Dec. 11.