08/27/2004 12:00AM

Radke resigned to lengthy absence


AUBURN, Wash. - Last Sunday jockey Kevin Radke had to stand by and watch as two of his former mounts, Adreamisborn and Demon Warlock, finished one-two in the Grade 3, $250,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs.

It was the latest incident in a run of frustration for Radke dating back to April 14, when he broke the radius and dislocated the ulna in his left wrist in a spill on the Bay Meadows turf course. At the time, the 32-year-old Radke thought the injury was a relatively minor setback in a career that was heading for the stratosphere.

Though he didn't launch his career until November 1998, Radke won back-to-back riding titles at Emerald in 2002 and 2003, and was coming off a banner meeting at Golden Gate. Taking advantage of the absence of the perennial northern California riding champ, Russell Baze, who was sidelined for two months with a dislocated collarbone, Radke won the Golden Gate title with 88 wins, and was looking forward to challenging Baze, with whom he shared agent Ray Harris, at the Bay Meadows stand.

Then came the injury.

The eight weeks of recovery time that Radke was expecting to have has stretched into more than four months, and his wrist has still not healed.

"I only have maybe 30 percent of my range of motion and strength in that hand," he said. "The bones have healed, but there was apparently quite a bit of damage to the soft tissue and nerves. That's the problem."

Radke has spent the summer relaxing at his home in Auburn, Wash., undergoing therapy for his wrist and visiting his doctor, Oakland Raiders team physician Dr. Warren King, every six weeks in Palo Alto, Calif. During his most recent visit to King, he received bad news.

"He said there hadn't been much improvement since the last time I saw him," said Radke. "If there isn't evidence of improvement, he can't approve further workmen's compensation payments for my treatment. That's a concern. I can carry on with some of the rehabilitation on my own, but I think I need more medical treatment, too."

Radke admitted that he has considered the possibility that his wrist may never heal to the degree that he can resume riding.

"If that's the way it is going to be, so be it," he said. "I'm a pretty handy guy, and I can do other things. I'd just like to know where I stand. And if I do have to quit riding, I'd like that to be my decision."

Despite the slow pace of his recovery, Radke remains optimistic that he will be able to resume riding by April 15 of next year, when Emerald Downs will open its 2005 season.

"That will be a year from when I got the injury, and my doctor thinks my wrist should be about 90 percent healed by then," he said. "It makes sense for me to start back up at Emerald, because this is where my home is. It's one thing to pick up and try my luck in California when I'm coming off a killer meeting and I've got money in the bank, but I'm not in that situation any more. I'm back to square one."

Top sires have yearlings in sale

Any ranking of the hottest young sires on the planet would have the 2000 Kentucky Derby winner, Fusaichi Pegasus, and Elusive Quality, the sire of Smarty Jones, very close to the top.

As it happens, both will be represented in the 2004 Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Assoc-iation's summer yearling sale, which will be held on Sept. 7 in the Morris J. Alhadeff Sales Pavilion on the grounds of Emerald Downs.

Northwest Farms has consigned a son of Fusaichi Pegasus out of the superb racemare Ropersandwran-glers to sell as Hip No. 104. The colt is the third foal out of Ropersand-wranglers, who won 13 of 20 starts, including nine stakes at Emerald Downs, for $260,575 in earnings.

Elusive Quality will be represented by a pair of fillies, both consigned by Candi Tollett, agent for Fell Hill Farms Inc. Hip No. 19 is out of a Briartic mare, Hippic, a winning half-sister to Grade 2 stakes winner Moon Mist. Her foals include three stakes-placed runners, and three who have earned over $100,000.

Hip No. 129, the other Elusive Quality filly, is out of the Sunny's Halo mare Sunny's Rose, an unraced half-sister to the Grade 1 stakes placed No More Flowers. She has two winners from three foals to race, including $100,000 earner Flowers on the Wall.

All three yearlings are Kentucky-breds, but they have been provisionally nominated to the Northwest Race Series.

In all, 217 yearlings have been cataloged for the sale. Other prominent sires represented include three Kentucky Derby winners - Charismatic, Real Quiet, and Monarchos - as well as Banker's Gold, Boundary, Capote, Cee's Tizzy, Coronado's Quest, Formal Gold, Gilded Time, Grand Slam, Skip Away, Tactical Cat, and With Approval.