01/13/2005 12:00AM

In Search of Fame, top Quarter Horse, is retired


PORTLAND, Ore. - In Search of Fame, one of the most remarkable horses of any breed to race at Portland Meadows, has been retired by his owner, Larry Campbell.

A 9-year-old Quarter Horse, In Search of Fame goes to pasture with a record of 28 victories from 48 starts for $128,637 in earnings. At Portland Meadows, he won 25 races, including 13 stakes, from only 32 outings.

In Search of Fame's local record was even more incredible before the current meeting began, but he finished second to Beluga Star in the Autumn Handicap in October and fourth to the same rival in last month's Columbia River Handicap. After the fourth-place finish, which equaled his worst finish ever at Portland Meadows, Campbell decided it was time to call it a career.

"He was still running very well, but the younger horses were gaining on him," Campbell said. "It was getting tougher every year, and I just decided I wanted to retire him with a big heart."

Campbell originally owned In Search of Fame, a gelded son of Dash Ta Fame and Rebecca Reb, in partnership with breeder Dave Nelson. He bought out his partner after In Search of Fame's juvenile season, but retained trainer James Glenn Jr., who handled In Search of Fame throughout his career.

"Jimmy agreed that it was the right decision to retire him," said Campbell. "He was a delight for me and my family. He tried so hard, and he was so consistent. I felt a tremendous sense of responsibility toward him, and the thing that pleases me most is that he is retiring sound. I hope he has a long and happy retirement."

Campbell said In Search of Fame is at Glenn's farm near Roseburg, but he may be moved.

"I'm looking for a nice piece of land," Campbell said, "and if I find it, my wife will build a house for us and I'll build a barn for In Search of Fame."

Crowning Glory upsets Directors

In Search of Fame's nemesis, Beluga Star, was himself upset by 15-1 shot My Crowning Glory in last Sunday's $6,000-added Directors Handicap at 350 yards.

Crowning Glory, a 5-year-old daughter of the Thoroughbred sire Crowning Season, went to the front at the start under rider Darlene Braden and held sway throughout to score by 1 1/4 lengths over Juno Dat Royal Bug, who won a photo with Farm City Rip and Beluga Star for third. Her time was a creditable 18.04 seconds, just four-tenths of a second off In Search of Fame's track record of 17.66.

My Crowning Glory earned her first stakes victory in her 17th start and paid $33.40 to win, but the upset didn't shock owner and trainer Wayne Burger.

"She has been pretty good all year, really, but she got wiped out at the gate in her last two starts," said Burger. "She drew the rail this time, which cut down the chances of her getting bumped, so I was expecting her to run a lot better."

Chancy Chancy back on scene

Last Saturday's feature, an invitational handicap for older fillies and mares at a mile, saw the reemergence of one of last season's stars when Chancy Chancy led throughout under Melissa Peery to score by 1 1/4 lengths over the heavily favored Quiz the Maid.

Chancy Chancy, a 5-year-old daughter of Stately Wager who races for trainer Dave Runyon, posted back-to-back victories in last season's Oregon Hers Stakes and City of Roses Handicap before being sidelined by a cracked cannon bone. She was off for eight months and could do no better than third in her first four starts at this meeting.

"I think I just fed her too well when she was away," said Runyon. "It took a long time to get the fat off, and it took a while to get her competitive attitude back, too. I really liked the way she dug when Quiz the Maid came to her on Saturday, though, and I am looking forward to running her in the next stakes."

Chancy Chancy will go next in the $10,000 Sweetheart Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 12.

Herrera hurts vertebrae in spill

Promising apprentice Jorge Herrera won two races on last Sunday's card, but the next day he became the latest in a distressing string of riders to be hurt at this meeting. Herrera's mount in Monday's sixth race, Nasty Jab, clipped heels and stumbled, unseating Herrera, who suffered fractures in several of the joints connecting the vertebrae in his spine. It was not known whether the injuries will require surgery.

Leading rider Debbie Hoonan broke his collarbone in a spill here Dec. 3, then defending riding champion Juan Gutierrez fell on Dec. 11 and elected to have surgery on his knee while recovering from soreness caused by the spill. Felipe Valdez arrived to take up the slack for agent Keith Drebin, who handled the books for both Hoonan and Gutierrez, but Valdez suffered two fractured vertebrae when he was unseated at the start of City of Roses Handicap on Dec. 26.

Valdez will be sidelined a minimum of two months, and Gutierrez could take several more weeks before he returns, but Drebin said Hoonan might be named on a few mounts this weekend.

"She was supposed to be out two months, but she healed faster than the doctors expected, and she is anxious to ride," Drebin said.