01/14/2005 12:00AM

Oakhurst adds a Seattle Slew stallion to roster


PORTLAND, Ore. - Dr. Jack Root already had nine stallions lined up to stand the upcoming breeding season at his Oakhurst Thoroughbreds in Newberg, Ore., and that seemed like a lot for a farm in a state that only has about 600 Thoroughbred mares.

But now he has another. Root said he acquired Seattle Shamus, a 6-year-old son of Seattle Slew and the Forty Niner matron Footing, for stud duty in 2005.

"I probably needed another stallion like I needed another hole in my head," he said, jokingly. "But we didn't have a Seattle Slew stallion, and I didn't want to give people an excuse to take their mares anywhere else. Besides, I think he is an outstanding prospect."

What Seattle Shamus brings to the breeding shed is speed, and plenty of it. He ran an opening quarter-mile fraction of 20.80 seconds en route to his maiden win at Santa Anita in March 2003, and twice hung up half-mile splits of 43.40. We're not talking about the downhill turf course, either. Those fractions were set on dirt.

"His quarter-mile fraction was the fastest they ever recorded over Santa Anita's main track," Root said. "He could flat out fly."

Seattle Shamus was able to stretch his speed to a mile, which was the longest distance he ever attempted. He was reportedly plagued throughout his career with intestinal problems, and retired last spring with a record of 3 wins and 2 seconds from 10 starts, all in Southern California, for earnings of $126,800.

His stud fee has not yet been announced.

New stud at El Dorado Farms, too

Ron and Nina Hagen's El Dorado Farms in Enumclaw, Wash., will also introduce a new stallion for 2005. The Hagens have obtained Private Gold, a 5-year-old son of Seeking the Gold and Temper the Wind, by Elocutionist.

Private Gold won 3 of 13 starts, including the $100,000 James C. Ellis Juvenile Stakes at Ellis Park as a 2-year-old, and the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park at 3. He also ran second to eventual juvenile champion Vindication in the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway. He won at distances from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles before retiring last spring with earnings of $208,047.

Private Gold is a half-brother to three stakes winners, and hails from a solid black-type family that includes Linkage, who won the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes and ran second in the Grade 1 Preakness.

Can't keep McFadden away

Art McFadden resigned as president of MEC Oregon Racing, Inc., the Magna Entertainment subsidiary that operates Portland Meadows, effective on Jan. 1, but was back in the stands as a fan last Saturday. McFadden, who has been involved in Oregon racing in various capacities throughout his life, said he parted company with Magna on the most amicable of terms.

"Magna was great to me, and they have been great for Oregon racing," he said. "There is no question in my mind that there wouldn't be any racing at Portland Meadows if Magna hadn't stepped in four years ago. The EPA was insisting that the track clean up its waste water runoff, and the former operators weren't going to spend the money to do it. Magna spent $1.6 million on that project, and I think that showed a lot of commitment."

So why did he resign?

"I'm 70 years old," McFadden said. "It was time."

McFadden said he hopes to run more of his own horses at Portland Meadows now that he is no longer involved in track management.

"It was legal for me to run horses here for the last couple of years, and I did run a few," he said. "I never felt totally comfortable doing it, though, and now I do."

Americas Pride may race again

Trainer Ben Root said multiple stakes winner Americas Pride, who fell during the running of the City of Roses Handicap on Dec. 26, tore the ligament connecting the hock and stifle in her back right leg.

"It's not a common injury, but it isn't real severe," Root said. "It is something that usually happens to young horses when they slip in muddy pastures. Our plan is to look at it again in two months, then make a decision whether to race or breed her."

Root said his parents, who own the 4-year-old Americas Pride, would prefer for her to break the $100,000 barrier in earnings before breeding her. Her earnings are $80,055.

Knightsbridge Road nearing a start

Trainer Debbie Van Horne said Emerald Downs stakes winner Knightsbridge Road has resumed training at this track and may make two starts at the meeting.

"My plan is to run him in the Governor's Speed Handicap [on March 19] and the Portland Meadows Mile [on April 9]," she said. "He had a better vacation than last year, and he feels really good, so I'm hoping he'll have a big year."

Knightsbridge Road, a 5-year-old son of Cisco Road, has finished in the top three in 17 of his 27 starts, while racing almost exclusively in stakes. He has earned $145,798.