11/18/2004 12:00AM

Scatin Satin one speedy filly


PORTLAND, Ore. - The Oregon-bred 2-year-old fillies in the field will be tested for class in Saturday's six-furlong Lassie Stakes, the first open stakes for juvenile fillies at the Portland Meadows meeting, and Scatin Satin figures to administer the most demanding exam.

Scatin Satin, a Washington-bred daughter of Scatmandu from the barn of trainer Robbie Baze, ran three strong races last summer at Emerald Downs. She was beaten a nose by $12,500 maidens Aug. 5, then she defeated similar competition by 7 3/4 lengths to post her maiden win on Aug. 19. She dueled through fast fractions in the Diane Kem Stakes on Sept. 19, finishing a close sixth. Before those races, however, Scatin Satin finished far up the track in three attempts against maiden special weight company at Emerald.

"She was very green in her early races, but I kept running her against maiden special weight company because I liked her so much," said Baze. "Finally I dropped her down and she woke up, but I really think the added experience had as much to do with it as the class drop. It just took her a while to get everything together."

Although Scatin Satin is a more seasoned competitor now, she still has a few quirks.

"She likes to be held together, and she loves to run on the rail," said Baze. "Fortunately, she has so much speed that she can usually get clear and drop over to the rail pretty quickly."

Cool Blast finally gets to run

Another Washington-bred who figures to test the statebreds on Saturday is Cool Blast, who was claimed by trainer Bill Abella out of a front-running win over $8,000 maidens at Emerald on Aug. 7.

"Bill likes to pick out the horses he claims, and he has a good eye for it," said trainer Sam Dronen. "I think he may have gotten himself a real bargain when he claimed Cool Blast."

Cool Blast made her debut against $12,500 maidens at Emerald on July 15, and she finished just a length behind the winner, M K Beck. She then ran second against $16,000 maidens before being claimed out of her win by Abella. Six weeks later, M K Beck made the owner look good by winning the $40,000 Diane Kem Handicap on Washington Cup Day, Sept. 19. Since then, Abella and Dronen have been eager to run Cool Blast, but they have been stymied.

"None of the nonwinner-of-two allowance races have filled, and all of the stakes have been for Oregon-breds," said Dronen. "I have kept her in steady training all along, hoping there would be someplace to run her. She has been training for over three months for this race on Saturday. At least she shouldn't be short."

'Cowgirl' pumped up

Heading the Oregon-bred forces in the Lassie will be the Ben Root-trained duo of One Fast Cowgirl and Miss Bliss, who finished first and second in the six-furlong Janet Wineberg Stakes here on Nov. 6. While Miss Bliss's runner-up effort was no surprise, One Fast Cowgirl's stakes win in her career debut stunned her trainer.

"She really hadn't shown me much before that race, but she ran big and now I can see a real change in her," said Root. "I was afraid an effort like that would knock her out, but she came out of that race more aggressive than ever, and much more confident. Now she knows what her job is, and she likes it. She is pretty high on herself right now."

Root said Miss Bliss came out of the Janet Wineberg much the same as she went into it, but he wasn't complaining about that.

"She is just a very professional filly, and that's pretty unusual for a 2-year-old," he said. "I feel like I can always count on her to run to the best of her ability."

D'Amico forced to give up riding

Jockey Duane D'Amico finished the 2003-04 Portland meeting with a flourish, winning 27 races in the last nine days of the season. He continued his hot streak on the Oregon fair circuit last summer, but it came to an abrupt end when he was injured in a gate mishap at Grants Pass on June 16. Now he says his riding career is over.

"I already had two pairs of vertebrae in my neck fused, and I messed up another one in that accident," said D'Amico. "My neurosurgeon said I couldn't ride any more, and I didn't argue with him."

D'Amico began riding in 1986 and rode until 1996 when he left racing to work as an auto mechanic. He resumed riding at Emerald in 2003 and continued until last June.

In his career, D'Amico rode an even 5,000 mounts and won 540 races for nearly $2 million in earnings.

- Catalogs are now available for the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association's annual winter mixed sale, which will be held at the M. J. Alhadeff Sales Pavilion at Emerald Downs on Sunday, Dec. 5. A total of 259 hips, including 158 yearlings, have been cataloged.