01/21/2004 1:00AM

Owner of 'Fame' reaps rewards

Email

PORTLAND, Ore. - Trainer Jimmy Glenn couldn't be present to saddle In Search of Fame for last weekend's Director's Handicap for older Quarter Horses at 350 yards, so breeder Dave Nelson handled the chores. A former owner of In Search of Fame, Nelson sold half of In Search of Fame to his friend Larry Campbell before the horse started, and sold the other half to Campbell in 2000.

"Jimmy says Dave has made two mistakes in racing," said Campbell. "The first was when he sold half of In Search of Fame to me. The second was when he sold me the other half."

In Search of Fame's narrow victory over the 4-year-old Mr. Eye Will in the Director's was his 25th win from 42 career starts, and the $4,225 winner's prize boosted his earnings to $119,024. The Director's result reversed Mr. Eye Will's narrow victory over In Search of Fame in the Columbia River Handicap on Dec. 5.

In Search of Fame, who covered the Director's distance in 18.10, .44 off his own track record, improved his mark at Portland Meadows to 22 wins from 28 tries.

"I'm not sure whether he loves this track or he just hates to travel," said Campbell. "I know we sent him to Boise for two weeks a couple of years ago, and he lost 200 pounds. Since then, we've tried to keep him close to home."

Home for In Search of Fame is Glenn's farm in Yoncallah, Ore., where he returns after every race; he vans back to Portland Meadows only to race. The routine obviously suits him, but his owner notes that In Search of Fame's assignments get more difficult with every campaign.

"He has some age on him now, and every year there are younger horses stepping up to challenge him," said Campbell. "He can still hold his own, but he doesn't often win drawing away like he used to. Now it's always close."

Perhaps one reason In Search of Fame hasn't dominated his recent races is that in six of his last seven starts he has drawn the inside post, which is generally considered a disadvantage in straightaway races at this track.

Campbell said he kidded director of racing Jerry Kohls on entry day about the string of unfavorable post draws, accusing Kohls of rigging the process. In response, Kohls allowed Campbell to shake his own entry pea out of the bottle.

"Naturally, I shook out the pea numbered 1," Campbell said.

Crispin continues winning ways

The temperatures in Portland were frigid from Jan. 5, the first day racing was lost to a brutal winter storm, through Jan. 12, when the fourth straight day of scheduled racing was canceled. Nevertheless, jockey Joe Crispin remained hot.

Crispin, who set a record with seven wins on a single card here in 2000, posted six wins on a 10-race program Jan. 3, the final day of racing before the break. When racing resumed last Friday, he scored with his first four mounts.

"I've got a history of winning races in bunches, and I can't really explain it other than to say I'm taking good care of myself now," he said. "I'm going to church and living right, and good things seem to happen when I do that."

Crispin came back to win three races on Saturday's card, boosting his total, through 36 days of racing, to 47 wins. He trails only leading rider Juan Gutierrez, who has 59 wins.

Locals busy at Keeneland sale

Local horsemen were well-represented at last week's mixed sale at Keeneland, as breeder Michael Stafford and trainers Jonathan Nance, Jim Fergason, Carol Duby, and Nick Lowe were all in attendance. They combined to buy about 20 horses, mostly yearlings, according to Lowe.

"We were all pretty impressed by the pedigrees we could buy for not very much money," said Lowe. "I got a yearling filly by Real Quiet from a really nice Pine Bluff mare for $3,500, for example."

Lowe said the best-looking yearlings sold extremely well but most had winter coats and were still underweight from the stress of weaning and sales preparation.

"A lot of them weren't very pretty, but there were some real bargains to be had if you could look past that," he said. "At least we thought they were bargains. I guess time will tell."

Horsemen give a hand at track

Some horsemen were housebound by the recent storm, which featured freezing rain that blanketed the entire Portland area with an inch or more of ice. Those who made it to the track often helped out by feeding their neighbors' horses and walking them under the shedrows. Other exercises were impractical.

"It was too icy," said trainer Eulia Bischoff. "I finally brought a pick-axe from home, and we chipped two inches of ice off the wood chips under our hotwalker. We got our horses a little exercise on the hotwalker, but it wasn't much."

The track was frozen and closed to training from Monday, Jan. 5, through Tuesday, Jan. 13. In response, Kohls shortened many of the races offered for last weekend's racing.