12/09/2004 12:00AM

Webb barn thin on Oregon Championship Day


PORTLAND, Ore. - Trainer Delmer Webb enjoyed what may have been the best day of a long and successful career at this time last year, when he went 3 for 3 in stakes on Oregon Championship Day. Webb sent out Yesss to win the Oregon Sprint Championship, Cee Cruiser to win the Oregon His, and Tom Won to win the Os West Oregon Futurity.

With another Oregon Championship Day coming up Saturday, a good deal has changed in Webb's barn. He has lost Tom Won, whom he owned, because of a mysterious infection that popped up shortly after his Oregon Futurity victory. Then owners Troy Lange and Dan Miller sent Cee Cruiser away, to race at Turf Paradise, where he remains.

Yesss is still going strong and was set to shoot for his eighth local stakes win in the Sprint, but that race failed to fill when only four horses were entered on Thursday morning.

All of which leaves Webb with only one bullet to fire on the program he dominated last year. The one he will saddle is Run Irene Run, in the one-mile Oregon Hers for 3-year-old fillies.

Webb claimed Run Irene Run for owner Ray Boucher out of a second-place finish against older $6,250 claimers in a six-furlong test on Oct. 17. He ran her back in the six-furlong HBPA Invitational Handicap on Nov. 26, and she earned her way into the Hers with an upset win over a strong field at odds of 11-1.

"I was really pleased with her race, and she came out of it very well," said Webb. "Now we'll see if she can go a mile."

Run Irene Run, a daughter of He's Tops, finished second in an allowance race to the talented Ms Lady Palace in her only one-mile try last year.

"That was a pretty good effort for her first route, and I think that was one of the reasons Ray wanted to claim her," said Webb. "She is probably the speed of this race, and she is doing good now, so I've got to give her a shot."

Run Irene Run figures to get her stiffest challenge from Kya Jo, who won the 1 1/16-mile Oregon Oaks last April. She has raced only twice at the current meeting, finishing second to older rivals in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance race, then third to Run Irene Run in the HBPA Invitational Handicap, a race in which she was beaten by less than a length.

"I'm excited to get her back to routing," said Kya Jo's trainer, Jonathan Nance. "She is just a much better horse around two turns, and she is coming into this race just right. I gave her the summer off, but she has had two sprint preps now and she should be ready for a big effort.

One Tuft Woeman in off sharp debut

The most competitive race on the Oregon Championship Day card is probably the Jane Driggers Debutante for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs. The $10,000 stakes has drawn an evenly matched field of nine, and fans could have a difficult time isolating a favorite.

One intriguing candidate is One Tuft Woeman, a daughter of Danjur from the barn of trainer Nick Lowe. One Tuft Woeman

didn't make her debut until Nov. 27, but she made a big impression by defeating maiden special weight rivals at five furlongs by nine widening lengths in a fast 1:00.40 under rider Tim Neal.

"She had been ready for quite a while, but I couldn't get her into a race," said Lowe. "That's the only thing I'm worried about. She'll be running back in two weeks, and that's a little quick. Tim really likes her, though, and she came out of that race higher than a kite. I think she'll be okay."

Lowe also plans to enter Watch Our Demon, a daughter of Demons Begone who won her debut here on Nov. 22 in 1:02 for five furlongs.

"She only beat $6,250 maidens and she didn't go nearly as fast as One Tuft Woeman, but she did it awfully easy," said Lowe. "She is a half-sister to [stakes winner] Viva Lavilla and a couple of other nice horses, and she might be better than she looks on paper. I wouldn't sell her too short."

Lowe's entrants will not be coupled in the betting, because they have different owners. The same rule applies to three fillies entered by trainer Ben Root.

He will saddle Janet Wineberg winner One Fast Cowgirl and debut winners Quartern and Gordys Sweet Jordy in the Debutante, and he could have entered Janet Wineberg runner-up Miss Bliss as well. But he decided she will try something else instead.

"I decided to enter Miss Bliss against the boys in the Futurity," Root said. "I'm pretty well represented in the Debutante, and I've got a feeling the Futurity might be the easier of the two races.

"From top to bottom, I think the 2-year-old filly division is stronger than the division for colts and geldings. We have an outstanding group of Oregon-bred 2-year-old fillies racing here this season."