Portland Meadows 2012 season in review
When Overtime Victory hit the wire in front of the $20,000 Final of the O.H.B.P.A. Route Claiming Series, he put a bow on the season that was in 2012 at Portland Meadows. Racing commenced on Sunday July 15, 2012 for the inaugural Summer/Fall Meet at Portland Meadows with a huge opening day. Thousands of patrons flooded the doors as elected officials and track management joined members of the local horse racing community for a ribbon cutting ceremony to kick off the new season. On the track, Shamundi put in a closing run to win the Inaugural Handicap that afternoon and the sixty day racing season was off and running. Guests walked in and were greeted by a new Portland Meadows. With wonderful art in the entry way, a new kid’s area called the Horseplay Kid’s Zone, as well multiple new food and beverage locations, including the popular Beer-B-Q tent outside and the Starting Gate Bar inside on the mainline this was not the Portland Meadows of old.
Racing was run on Wednesday and Friday nights, and Sunday afternoons throughout the Summer portion of the meet. Wednesday night racing featured a live two hour broadcast from the track on Comcast SportsNet Northwest called Portland Meadows: Horse Racing Live. Wednesday night’s also featured a weekly $1,000 Handicapping Contest that culminated with a $10,000 Final on September 30th, with local handicapper James McMahan taking home the top honors and the $6,000 first prize.
Jockey Luis Torres got off to a fast start with four wins on opening day and six winners on the second day of racing. He started off atop the riders standings for both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds and never looked back, collecting 109 total wins over the sixty day season. Torres won his first Thoroughbred riding title at Portland Meadows and his second consecutive Quarter Horse riding title during the 2012 Season.
Special promotions were abound all summer long, including an appearance by famed horse racing artist Pierre “Peb” Bellocq, who was commissioned a custom drawing to celebrate the Summer Meet. Peb appeared on track on August 26th to autograph the picture for fans.
The City of Roses Filly and Mare Sprint Claiming Series and the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series excited fans all throughout August and September. Fantasyville took home the top honors for trainer Judith Miller and owners Debra Larson in the City of Roses Filly and Mare Sprint Claiming Series, as she was fortunate enough to not be claimed in either of the first two legs, and ran away in the Final. Zilver, won both of his preliminary legs for trainer Jonathan Nance and owners Bob and Pat Cosgrove and outdueled Declan Downs in the Final to win by a hard fought head under a great ride from Marijo Terleski.
Labor Day marked the return of Portland Meadows’ Signature Race, the $35,000 Portland Mile. The race featured a match-up between defending Portland Mile winner Deacon Speakin’ and California invader When We Met. Deacon Speakin’ and Luis Torres put in a strong closing move and were able to hold off When We Met late to win by three quarters of a length. Trained by Steve Fisher and owned by Paul Hagemann, Deacon Speakin’ became the first horse since Tall Ben in 1971 and 1972 to win the Portland Mile back to back. Trainer Steve Fisher became the second trainer in track history to win the Portland Mile three times, the other trainer being Jonathan Nance who has won the race three times as well.
Nance enjoyed a great season atop the trainer’s standings and collected another training title win at Portland Meadows. He got off to a flying start and never looked back, sending out 48 winners over the course of the sixty day season.
The speedy Quarter Horses enjoyed some memorable moments at the track this season as well. Jockey Luis Torres dominated the standings while trainer Juan Sanguino secured his second straight Quarter Horse training title, winning 20 races and winning at over 30%. Devon Dat Cash took home the Portland Meadows Bonus Challenge on September the 23rd, while two year old Wild Beach dominated the Far West Futurity Final the following week. Sneakin Bye turned in the biggest win of the season, scoring in the $28,400 Baxter Andruss Futurity for trainer Scott Raley and owner/breeder Gary Chumbley. Hannibal Lector broke a fifty nine year old track record on November 17th when he completed 220 yards in 12.12 seconds. And just three weeks later, L Bar D Snow Princes bested that mark, going the 220 yards in 11.91 seconds.
Always one of the biggest days on the racing calendar, Oregon Championship Day featured some memorable performances by the Oregon-breds, but none more impressive than Calypsonoted who beat the boys to take home the $25,000 Don Jackson Futurity. Calypsonoted earned $24,970 in her three wins at Portland Meadows this season, making her the richest earning horse of the meet. Owned, trained and bred by Eric Jensen, Calypsonoted broke her maiden on August 22nd, and then followed that up with a huge thirteen and three quarter length win in the Janet Wineberg Stakes. She completed her perfect season when her and jockey Anne Sanguinetti beat the boys on Oregon Championship Day in the Don Jackson. Her half-sister Stopin Memo took the Oregon Hers, while 23/1 long shot Lari’s Little Larry took home the Oregon His. Midda’s Gold Touch dominated the Lethal Grande Oregon Sprint Championship, completing a fine 2012 for that runner who goes for the barn of trainer Debbie Fergason.
As the season wound down, we saw many great performances, but maybe none as amazing as when Jockey Debbie Hoonan won seven races on the Sunday December 1st card. Tying the all-time record for wins on a day at Portland Meadows, joining Felipe Valdez who accomplished the feat in 2001, and Joe Crispin who rung up seven wins three different times.
The season wrapped up on Sunday December 9th when Overtime Victory closed out the O.H.B.P.A Route Claiming Series with a powerful eight and a half length win. It was a memorable ending to a memorable season.