03/10/2004 12:00AM

New purchase keys record pick four for surprised owner

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Boardroom Banter had the kind of form only an owner could bet on in the first leg of Friday's pick four, and owner Ron Sutton must have been about the only person who did. When he won at 35-1 under longshot artist Melissa Peery, he keyed a record pick four payoff of $3,359 that Sutton shared with three partners.

"I only bought the horse a few days ago, and I didn't pay much for him," said Sutton. "I really didn't know anything about him, but I figured it would be bad luck to leave him off of our pick four ticket. I had a hard time convincing my buddies to throw him in, but they were all glad after he won."

Boardroom Banter, a 6-year-old son of Delineator and Sheltered View, won for just the third time in 31 starts after failing to get within nine lengths of the winner in any of his 10 most recent starts.

"I really can't explain it," said trainer Vanessa Hunt. "I just left him in his stall for four days. I never even galloped him. Then I took his screens and shadow roll off, thinking I'd start from scratch and add equipment when he showed he needed it. I certainly didn't expect him to win."

Sutton didn't expect Boardroom Banter to win, either, but he wasn't shocked by the outcome.

"I've seen it happen before," he said. "A horse will change trainers and wake up. Maybe it's something the new trainer does or doesn't do, or maybe it's just the new surroundings, but all of a sudden they are happier and their form turns around."

So Happy Together finds her track

There aren't many horses who ship from Santa Anita to compete at Portland Meadows, and the few who do are almost invariably in steep decline.

That wasn't the case with So Happy Together, a maiden winner at the $28,000 level at Santa Anita in January, yet it made perfect sense for owner Howard Siegel to ship her to local trainer Nick Lowe for last Saturday's $10,000 Mary Goldblatt Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile. So Happy Together won the race by a widening 4 1/2 lengths over second choice Ms Lady Palace, who finished a length in front of favorite Kya Jo.

"We knew her brother liked this track, and we were hoping it ran in the family," said Siegel, who flew up from his home in Calabasas, Calif., about 30 miles from Los Angeles, to watch his filly run.

So Happy Together, who is by Corslew, is a half-sister to Slews Onry Won, who won 13 of 27 outings over this track, including six stakes, before being retired into the care of jockey Melissa Peery in 2002. At all other tracks, Slews Onry Won was 0 for 12.

Lowe, who saddled the Siegel-owned Our Lucky Kiss to win the Janet Wineberg Stakes here two years ago, suggested that the owner buy So Happy Together as a yearling from the estate of former owner, trainer, and breeder Pat Sonnen.

"I made an offer for her on Nick's recommendation, and they accepted," said Siegel. "I decided to race her in Southern California with Eddie Truman, and we were fortunate to win one of her three starts down there. She probably fits better here, though, and she is a statebred, so she is eligible for the Oregon-bred bonus here."

Siegel said So Happy Together will remain in Lowe's barn through the end of the meeting. She is slated to go next in the $10,000 Mt. St. Helens Stakes at a mile on March 27, then conclude her local campaign with an engagement in the $10,000 Oregon Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on April 17.

Yesss strikes again - going short

Another horse for this course, Yesss, posted his third straight win and his 12th victory from 28 local starts on Saturday when he scored by a neck over Muscovy in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance that will serve as a springboard to the six-furlong Governor's Speed Handicap here on March 20. It was the first win at under six furlongs for Yesss, who is generally best around two turns, yet his clocking of 1:04.98 was the fastest at the current meeting.

"I really thought this race would be too short for him, but he needed a prep," said owner and trainer Delmer Webb. "The amazing thing is that he had to wait for room on the turn or he would have went faster. He's just very good right now. I think he is the best he has ever been."

Webb's ultimate goal for Yesss, a six-time stakes winner at Portland Meadows, is the $40,000 Portland Meadows Mile on April 10.