12/18/2002 12:00AM

Utley's prayers are answered


PORTLAND, Ore. - Trainer Sue Utley says the same prayer for every horse she saddles, but she never said it so often or so fervently as during the running of last Saturday's $27,015 OS West Oregon Futurity at Portland Meadows.

Utley trains Glad to Be Here, who moved strongly under jockey Angel Felix to engage the pacesetting favorite, Stately Jack Flash, midway around the second turn of the one-mile race. It was at that point that the trainer began repeating, "Lord, let him run his fastest, but don't let him get hurt."

"I just kept saying my prayer over and over, all the way to the wire," she said. "Then I started cheering."

That was because Glad to Be Here not only ran fast and sound, but drew away in the final strides to register a 1 1/4-length victory over Stately Jack Flash in 1:42.20. Yada Yada Yada, the second choice in a field of eight, came from far back to finish another neck back in third.

Glad to Be Here, a homebred son of Jumron who races for 87-year-old breeder Burle Oakley, went off as the 6-1 third choice after running a close third to Yada Yada Yada and Stately Jack Flash in the six-furlong Bill Wineberg Stakes Nov. 17. But Utley had reason to hope for a better outcome in the Futurity.

"He was just getting over a cold in the Wineberg, and I knew he was coming up to this race a lot better," she said. "I also thought the extra distance would help him. I've been waiting to run him at a mile ever since I put him into training."

Glad to Be Here, who will now be pointed toward the $25,000 Oregon Derby at nine furlongs in the spring, is out of Jazzi Pink, who won two stakes at Portland Meadows, and Glad to Be Here's granddam, Hot Lemonaid, won three stakes at Portland Meadows. All three were bred by Oakley and his wife, Beatrice, at their farm near Lebanon, Ore.

Hurlimans' statebreds win twice

The Oregon Futurity was the featured stakes on an Oregon-bred Day card that included four other stakes for Thoroughbreds, and owners George and Rose Hurliman of Tillamook, Ore., took home trophies for two of them. The Hurlimans own Nichole's Delight, the wire-to-wire winner of the one-mile Oregon Hers for 3-year-old fillies, They also part-own Aka Remy, the come-from-behind winner of the 1 1/16-mile Oregon His. The Hurlimans' partners are Debra Fergason, the wife of trainer Rolland Fergason, and Lorie Wigle and Ash Gupte's Ashfault Farm.

Nicole's Delight was saddled by trainer Nick Lowe and Aka Remy was sent out by trainer Jim Fergason, Rolland Fergason's brother. But Rolland Fergason had prepared both runners at Turf Paradise in Phoenix.

"We just shipped them here about a week ago, and they'll both probably go back to Phoenix in another week," said George Hurliman. "We have raced horses at both places for the last four years. We really enjoy racing our Oregon-breds here and I'm glad these two got the chance to race here on Oregon-bred Day, but they both like the grass and we're sending them back to Turf Paradise for the turf course."

Bottom claimer surprises in Sprint

Saturday's other two stakes for Thoroughbreds went to Carlyn Road, who got up in the final stride to win the six-furlong Jane Driggers Debutante for 2-year-old fillies, and Rose City Special, who surprised in the Oregon Sprint Championship at six furlongs.

Carlyn Road, a Cisco Road homebred who races for trainer Carol Duby, benefited from a never-say-die ride by Marijo Terleski. Carlyn Road chased the pacesetting favorite, Our Lucky Kiss, to within 50 yards of the wire without making up an inch of her two-length deficit. At that point, just when far too many riders look back to make sure no one is coming before wrapping up, Our Lucky Kiss suddenly shortened stride and Carlyn Road surged under persistent urging to be up by a neck.

Rose City Special ($29) was the day's longest-priced winner after he edged defending Oregon Sprint Championship winner Lovers Son and the favored Yesss in a three-horse photo.

The wonder is that the 5-year-old Rose City Special didn't go off at a higher price, as trainer Jonathan Nance claimed him for just $3,500 in April of last year, and he hadn't won in six subsequent tries.

"And I ran him twice for $2,500!" said Nance. "He came up to this race really well, though, and I didn't see any real knockouts in the field. I just decided to take a shot, and it all worked out better than I had any right to expect."