03/10/2005 1:00AM

Raggidy Rowe taking next step up

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Raggidy Rowe, who feasted on statebred competition in his authoritative win in last month's McFadden Memorial at 1 1/16 miles, will be out to show that he can handle open company in Saturday's Preview Stakes at the same distance.

At stake is a berth in the 1 1/8-mile Oregon Derby on April 2, which has been trainer Sammy Davis's goal for the strapping gelding all season.

"I just think he is going to love 1 1/8 miles," said Davis. "If I can get him into the derby in as good shape as he is now, I'll like his chances. He has been a very sound horse, and he has really trained well for the Preview."

Davis said he is less concerned with his competition for the Preview, which in fact might have been much tougher, than with getting the kind of ride his horse needs.

"The big thing is for the rider to keep after him," said Davis. "I raised this horse, and I know him. He's lazy, and he won't give you anything you don't ask for. He's just as happy to drop right out of there and gallop around the track. I've told that to every rider who has ridden him, but only a couple of them have listened to me."

One who listened was Shawna Barber, who nearly wore out her whip booting Raggidy Rowe to victory in the McFadden.

"Shawna will ride him again on Saturday," said Davis. "I have a lot of confidence in her, and in the horse."

Fergason changes plans

Jim Fergason trains the two most accomplished 3-year-olds on the grounds, Typhoon Aaron and Tomorrow's Turn, but neither will contest the Preview.

Fergason said he will train Typhoon Aaron up to the Oregon Derby and withhold Tomorrow's Turn for a race early in the upcoming Emerald Downs meeting, which constitutes a change in his plans.

"I was originally thinking of running Tomorrow's Turn in the derby and saving Typhoon Aaron for Emerald, but I changed my mind after I saw the first Emerald condition book," said Fergason. "There really isn't much for Typhoon Aaron up there until May, but there are a couple of nice spots for Tomorrow's Turn in April."

Fergason's only candidate for the Preview is J D's Date, a half-brother to the Emerald Downs stakes winner Crimson Design. J D's Date, a late-running son of Taj Alriyadh, was an impressive maiden special weight winner here on Feb. 5, but he finished a nonthreatening third as the even-money favorite in a mile allowance test here on Feb. 28.

Repeat honor for Lethal Grande

Lethal Grande joined the ranks of the most honored Oregon-breds of all time last Saturday when he was named Oregon-bred horse of the year for the second straight year by the Oregon Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the Oregon division of the Horsemen's Benevolent

and Protective Association. Only Polynesian Flyer, Prince Aglo, and Revillew Slew share the distinction of winning the award in consecutive years.

In addition to his horse of the year awards, the 6-year-old Lethal Grande was named the state's top 2-year-old colt or gelding for 2001 and the top 3-year-old colt or gelding for 2002.

Lethal Grande, who has raced most of his career for owner Mike Pollowitz, enjoyed his best year in 2004 with 6 wins, including a victory in the Portland Meadows Mile, from 15 starts for $111,367 in earnings. He closed out his 2004 campaign with four straight victories at Hastings Park and now boasts a career mark of 14 wins from 47 starts for $243,487 in earnings.

Others honored were Moonlit Maddie, who was named the state's best older filly or mare for the third straight year; Might E Man, named champion 3-year-old colt or gelding; Corona Del Hielo, champion 3-year-old filly; Cascadiansasquatch, champion 2-year-old colt or gelding; and Wice O Kat, champion 2-year-old filly.

Le Bardot, the dam of Lethal Grande, was honored as the state's broodmare of the year, while Baquero was named the state's sire of the year.