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Star-studded cast highlights Inaugural Handicap on Opening Day

October 2, 2009     E-mail this page to a friend!

Back this year are some of the top jockeys, trainers and horses from last season, as well as some new faces. Perennial leading trainers Jonathan Nance and Jim Fergason are both back with full barns. Other top local trainers, such as Ben Root, Robbie Baze, and Nick Lowe, are all also back with full barns.

Pat Jarvis, who has had great success the past two seasons shipping in from Hastings Park arrived with 27 runners, more than double what she’s brought the past couple of years.

Also returning is Jerry Hollendorfer. The perennial top trainer in Northern California had a good year at Portland Meadows last season with 25 winners from only 62 starters. Hollendorfer’s barn will be overseen by Tom Roberts.

New this season at Portland Meadows will be trainers Howard Belvoir, Vince Gibson, Pat Mullens, Jerri Robertson, and Marshall Allen. Belvoir has won the past two Longacres Miles at Emerald Downs and is frequently in the top 5 standings at the Auburn Oval. He is expected to bring a string of 15 horses to Portland Meadows. Gibson, Mullens and Allen are also shipping down from Emerald Downs with Robertson coming to Portland Meadows from Northlands Park in Edmonton.

Jockey Joe Crispin is set to return as well as regulars from last year’s colony including Mark Anderson, Troy Stillwell, Clark Jones, Luis Torres, Javier Matias, David Lopez, Gary Gavica, and Robert Burney.

Portland Meadows is coming off a record-setting season and is looking to continue that success. “Last season was one of the most successful meets in recent memory at Portland Meadows and we are excited to build upon that success,” said Portland Meadows General Manager Will Alempijevic. “Even with an extended meet that offers 20% more race days, we have been able to keep average purses at a similar level to last season, which should help field size. Our new racing schedule, along with full, competitive fields, should help us put out the most competitive product. Hopefully, fans of horse racing in Portland, the Pacific Northwest, and all of North America will respond with their wallets.”