04/07/2005 11:00PM

Next move unsure for derby winner


PORTLAND, Ore. - Trainer Jim Fergason said J. D.'s Date and Typhoon Aaron will take divergent paths after running one-two in last weekend's Oregon Derby, though he couldn't be sure where J. D.'s Date's path will lead.

"It will be up to the owners," said Fergason, referring to L.R. O'Brine and Marvin Pietilla. "If he were my horse I think I'd turn him out for a while. He's best at a route of ground, and the 3-year-olds won't be routing at Emerald until later in the meet. He'll need a break sometime before that meeting ends in October, and this seems like a good time. On the other hand, they might want to run him once at Emerald to take advantage of his fitness edge. That would make sense, too."

J. D.'s Date ran down his stablemate with a powerful late move to prevail by three lengths in the 1 1/8-mile Oregon Derby, handing Typhoon Aaron his first loss after four straight wins. Typhoon Aaron lost no stature in defeat, however. Making his first start in more than two months, Typhoon Aaron pressed the pace through a quarter-mile in 22.42, a half-mile in 47.36, and six furlongs in 1:12.78 before yielding only grudgingly to J. D.'s Date, who completed the nine furlongs in 1:54.91.

"The other horses who were up there on the lead died a horrible death, so it was really remarkable that he held on as well as he did," said Fergason. "He is really a very talented horse."

Fergason said Typhoon Aaron, a son of Danjur who races for Standish Stables, will go next in the six-furlong Auburn Stakes at Emerald Downs on May 1. The trainer won that race last year with J. D.'s Date's older brother Crimson Design.

"I'll just freshen him up now and try to have him ready to go six furlongs," he said. "He should be plenty fit after running 1 1/8 miles, and he has natural speed. I really don't know how he will fit in stakes company at Emerald, but I'm anxious to find out."

Raleys doubly successful

There are two R. Raleys training at Portland Meadows, but until last weekend Ron E. Raley was getting all of the attention, courtesy of his sensational Quarter Horse filly One Fast Trick.

Last Saturday it was time for R. Scott Raley, Ron E.'s son, to shine. The younger Raley saddled the winners of all three of the 300-yard trial races for the Portland Meadows Quarter Horse Futurity, which will be contested on April 23 at the same distance. Easy Stretch to Fame won the first trial in 16.23 seconds, Chivalo Toast won the second in 16.34 seconds, and Two Dash to Fame won the third in 16.42. Raley also qualified Time to Fly Strait, who ran second to Easy Stretch to Fame in the first trial with a clocking of 16.28 seconds. As a consequence, he will saddle four of the 10 starters for the final, which will have a purse of $23,750.

"It was a phenomenal day, and I really didn't expect it," said Scott Raley. "Chivalo Toast paid $32 to win, so I guess she was a surprise to a lot of people, and I was really surprised that Time to Fly Strait ran so well. He really hadn't shown that much, but he ended up being the second-fastest qualifier."

Raley's best chance in the final would appear to be Easy Stretch to Fame, a sorrel son of Dash Ta Fame who races for breeder Gary Chumley.

"Most of the eligible horses ran in training races here on March 2, and he had the fastest time that day," said Raley. "I was really counting on him to qualify, and I also liked Two Dash to Fame. The others were kind of a bonus."

Now jockey Jaime Martinez has a tough choice to make. Martinez rode both Easy Stretch to Fame and Two Dash to Fame in their trail heat victories.

Trip from Texas another happy one

Texas-based trainer K.C. Carden did it again in Sunday's renewal of the $18,990 Professionals Choice Claiming Challenge for Quarter Horses at 350 yards, vanning My Special Easy Dash 2,387 miles to win by a half-length in 18.27 seconds under rider Cory McDaniel. Carden and McDaniel did the same thing last year with A Toast to KC.

"We had so much fun here last year, and everyone was so gracious to us, that we really wanted to come back again," said Carden. "I originally planned to bring four horses, but two of them got claimed away. I bought the winner specifically for this race, and this was the first time I have run him."

Now the trick will be hanging on to My Special Easy Dash. Sunday's race, which was run under $5,000 starter allowance conditions, was the first of 10 qualifying heats for the $75,000 Professionals Choice Claiming Challenge Champion-ship, which will be run on Nov. 6 at Los Alamitos.

"Now that he is eligible for a $75,000 purse, everyone will want to claim him away," said Carden. "I've got to run him where he belongs, though, or he'll get discouraged."

Carden managed to keep A Toast to KC in his barn last year, and he ran fifth of nine in the Championship, which was run at Sam Houston