10/11/2007 11:00PM

Two top 3-year-old fillies to face their elders

EmailPORTLAND, Ore. - The better 3-year-old fillies at this stand will need to grow up fast. With the exception of the one-mile Oregon Hers Stakes on Dec. 9, which is restricted to Oregon-breds, there will be no stakes or invitational handicaps in which current 3-year-old fillies can race against their peers. They will all be for 3-year-olds and up until the first of the year, when there will be a new crop of 3-year-olds.

How will the younger set fare against their elders? The first indication should come in Sunday's headliner, a 5 1/2-furlong invitational handicap for fillies and mares that has drawn two of the brightest stars from this past spring's 3-year-old filly division.

Trainer Jim Fergason will saddle Silver Patrona, who won five straight sprints, four of them stakes, against her age group last season, and Bagels Baby, who twice upset her heavily favored stablemate at a mile.

"They are both ready to run, and this race seems like a good place to get them started," said Fergason. "They have both been training well, and they should do fine. It looks like the older filly and mare division might be a little thin this season."

If that proves to be the case, it will be largely because the Fergason-trained Tall Pines, a winner of 4 of her 5 starts here last season, has been retired. Also retired are the Jonathan Nance-trained duo of Lawanda and Quatorze, both major players in filly and mare division last year, while the Donna Jensen winner, My Emy My Amy, will campaign this winter at Turf Paradise for trainer Ben Root.

Fergason said both Silver Patrona and Bagels Baby will be pointed for the $20,000 Diane Kem Handicap for fillies and mares at six furlongs on Nov. 11. After that race, their paths will probably diverge.

"I'd like to keep Silver Patrona sprinting," said Fergason. "I gave her three chances to route last spring, and it just wasn't her best game. Bagels Baby is a natural route horse, though, and I hope to take her right through the stakes schedule."

Inaugural winner headed south

Rompinstomper, who upset Sunday's $20,000 Inaugural Handicap at 15-1, will likely ship out soon for trainer Marty Jones's barn in Southern California, according to owner and breeder Jim Hambleton.

"We're not really sure yet, but there are probably more races for him down there right now," said Hambleton. "He seemed to like the tracks down there, but then he obviously liked this track, too. He might be back later in the season."

Rompinstomper, a 3-year-old son of Ito the Hammer, began his career with four sharp efforts against high-priced maiden claimers in Southern California, culminating in a mile victory over $75,000 company at Santa Anita on Jan. 4. If he were coming off that race, he probably would have been among the favorites for the Inaugural. Instead he took nine months off, then finished off the board in a pair of allowance races at Hastings in September.

"I think it was partly a matter of him being off so long," said trainer Ron Wilson. "He definitely needed those races. The other thing, though, was that he just didn't handle the track. I don't know whether it was the mud or the tight turns, but he didn't run to form. Coming off those races, we didn't quite know where we were with him. He came up to this race well, though, and it was really nice to see him run the way we thought he could."

Little sister looking like a bargain

Jockey Joe Crispin would have preferred that his own mount, Lethal Grande, had won the Inaugural, but Rockinstomper was probably his second choice. That was because a day earlier Crispin had purchased Rockinstomper's yearling full sister at the Oregon Thoroughbred Breeders' Association's mixed sale, paying a mere $400 for the filly.

"I probably would have had to pay a lot more if the Inaugural had been before the sale," said Crispin. "She's a real pretty filly, and now she is a full sister to a stakes winner. I think I got quite a bargain."

There were plenty of satisfied buyers at the OTBA sale, but there were just as many disappointed sellers. Only 48 horses sold, for an average price of just $1,049. Last year, 74 horses sold for an average price of $1,445.

The sale topper was a weanling colt by Seattle Shamus out of Aly's Scamper from the consignment of Oakhurst Thoroughbreds who sold to Art McFadden for $5,000. A Snowbound yearling gelding sold for $4,000, and a Siberian Summer yearling gelding sold for $3,000.

Radke keeping fit

Kevin Radke, twice the leading rider at Emerald Downs, will ride here on Mondays and Tuesdays through October, according to agent Mike Delnick. Radke has agreed to participate in a jockey challenge in South Korea on the first weekend of November and wants to stay in shape for it.

* Agent Steve Peery reported that jockey A.L. Gutierrez will begin riding here this week and will continue until the Christmas break. Gutierrez finished 12th in the Emerald Downs standings with 26 wins from 280 mounts.