02/11/2004 1:00AM

Quiz the Maid's romp brings to mind success of big sister

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Having won the six furlong Lassie Stakes here in November, Quiz the Maid was a logical candidate to win what looked to be a highly competitive renewal of the six-furlong Ms. Stakes on Saturday. So it wasn't a surprise that she got up in time to score again.

The surprise was that she drew off to win by more than seven lengths over Kya Jo, the more-fancied half of a Jonathan Nance-trained entry that was favored at 9-5.

"I figured she'd give us an honest effort and she might win, but I never expected anything like this," admitted Quiz the Maid's trainer, Jim Fergason. "She was always bred to be a nice filly, though, and it looks like she is coming along even faster than I had hoped."

Quiz the Maid, a 3-year-old daughter of Basket Weave and Appease, races for breeder and owner Bill Grosso. Fergason also trained Quiz the Maid's older sister, Icksnay, for Grosso, and that is why he had high hopes for Quiz the Maid.

Under Fergason's care, Icksnay won three stakes at Portland Meadows, including the 1995 renewal of the Ms., and about $80,000. She was eventually sent to California, where she was claimed away, but she continued to win. She retired with a record of 15 wins, 19 seconds and 10 thirds from 66 starts for earnings of $264,710.

Fergason can't say if Quiz the Maid will go on to have the kind of career Icksnay enjoyed, but she is off to a good start with three victories, two of them in stakes, from eight outings.

"We'll just have to see how she develops," he said. "I'll be stretching her out now, and I don't think she'll have any problem handling two turns. Icksnay always liked a route of ground, and I think she will, too."

Fergason said Quiz the Maid will be pointed toward the one mile Mt. St. Helens Stakes on March 27 and the 1 1/16-mile Oregon Oaks on April 17. The Fergason-trained Back Street Gal won those same races last year en route to earning horse of the meeting honors.

Topweights share roots

Stately's Choice and Chancy Chancy, the two highweights for this Saturday's 1 1/16-mile Sweetheart Handicap for older fillies and mares, have a great deal in common.

Both the 5-year-old Stately's Choice and the 4-year-old Chancy Chancy are by the deceased stallion Stately Wager, and both are out of mares by Knights Choice. Both were bred by Dr. Jack and Cookie Root, who stood their sire, and they were both originally trained by the Roots' son, Ben. Stately's Choice still is, but Chancy Chancy was claimed away for $8,000 last summer at Emerald Downs by trainer Robbie Baze, who then lost her to current trainer Dave Runyan for $6,250, under whose care she has blossomed to win the Oregon Hers Stakes and the City of Roses Handicap at the current meeting.

In the City of Roses, Chancy Chancy came on again after being passed in the stretch to defeat Stately's Choice by a head.

"My dad gave me a lot of grief about losing Chancy Chancy, especially after she beat us in the City of Roses," said Ben Root. "I had to run her where she had a chance to win at Emerald, though, and at that time she was an $8,000 filly. Don't forget she ran fourth on the day she was claimed. She has gotten better since then, but I don't begrudge her the success she has had. I always liked her."

Root said he wished Stately's Choice and Chancy Chancy had one more thing in common. After their duel in the City of Roses on Dec. 27, Chancy Chancy came back to finish a distant sixth to male star Yesss in the nine-furlong William Kyne Handicap on Jan. 24, while Stately's Choice stayed on the sidelines awaiting the Sweetheart.

"I'm kicking myself for not running Stately's Choice in the Kyne," he said. "She might not have run any better than Chancy Chancy, but she would have benefited from the race. Now I'm afraid Chancy Chancy will have a fitness advantage over her."

Betting changes in legislative works

A bill currently working its way through the Washington legislature would change the ground rules for parimutuel wagering in the state.

Substitute Senate Bill 6481, which was passed out of the Senate Commerce and Trade Committee with a unanimous vote last week, would do three things if passed into law. It would legalize account wagering in the state, allowing Emerald Downs to negotiate for source-market fees with account wagering companies such as YouBet.com and Television Games Network. It would allow full-card simulcasting at satellite wagering sites throughout the state, at the discretion of Emerald Downs. And it would remove the restrictions which currently limit parimutuel wagering to 14 hours per day, five days a week.

The measure, which is supported by Emerald Downs and the Washington Horse Racing Commission, is currently in the Senate Rules Committee. If passed out of that committee, it will go to a vote on the Senate floor, then it will go to the House to undergo a similar process. If changes are made in the House, representatives of the two bodies will meet in conference to reconcile the differences, and the measure will be sent to the governor to be signed into law.