10/02/2010 12:26PM

Oaks purse increased, pick-four takeout reduced


PORTLAND, Ore. – The second richest race in track history and a new low pick four takeout highlight the 64th season at Portland Meadows, which gets under way Monday.

The 75-day meet includes two special cards. On Sunday, Dec. 12, the track will put on its annual Oregon Championship Day, which features a pair of $20,000 races, the Bill and Janet Wineberg for 2-year-olds and 2-year-old fillies. On Saturday, Jan. 29, the $80,000 Portland Meadows Oaks will be run.

The Portland Meadows Oaks replaces the Oregon Oaks as the meet’s premier event for 3-year-old fillies and has an enhanced purse. The race is part of the Black-Eyed Susan 2.2 bonus program that offers $2.2 million in bonuses to a filly that wins a series of races capped off by the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico the day before the Preakness.

“The Portland Meadows Oaks will instantly become a significant event in the Northwest racing scene,” Portland Meadows general manager William Alempijevic said.

The richest race in track history was the 1983 Portland Meadows Mile, which offered a $100,000 purse and was won by Present Value, who was ridden by the legendary Bill Shoemaker.

The track, which offers free parking and free admission, will also return more money to fans who play the pick four this year. Takeout on the wager has been reduced to 14 percent from 22 percent last year.

The meet should get off to a good start Monday when Wasserman, Washington state’s all-time leading earner of $534,459, makes his Oregon debut in the $20,000 Inaugural Handicap at six furlongs. Wasserman, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, drew post 6 in the field of eight. Wasserman, winner of the 2008 Grade 3 Longacres Mile, is seeking his first victory of the year but is coming off his best effort, a second to 2010 Longacres Mile winner Noosa Beach in the $50,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic at Emerald Downs on Sept. 12. Regular rider Jennifer Whitaker will be aboard for trainer Howard Belvoir.

Carry On John, who has two wins sandwiched around a second in his past three starts, is the one to catch in the race under Emerald Downs’s leading jockey Ricky Frazier.

Emancipated, coming off a pair of wins at one mile, drew the rail and will be hustled into a good stalking position by defending Portland Meadows riding champion Joe Crispin.

Also entered are Overtime Victory, second in the Portland Meadows Mile this spring; Stealth Attack, making his first start since a third in the Portland Meadows Mile; and Olympic Lights, 7 for 15 at six-furlongs. Air Pegasus and Dance Composer, who had successful campaigns at smaller tracks this year, round out the field.First post throughout the meeting is 12:40 p.m.