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Nineteen-hundredths of a second away from history

November 11, 2004     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Patrick Kerrison

Portland, OR, Oct. 30--It all came down to less than a second. Doggone it--it all came down to a fraction of a second. And in the end, nineteen-hundredths of a second made all the difference.

Saturday afternoon on October 30 at Portland Meadows, the third leg of the inaugural Oregon Quarter Horse Triple Crown was contested. Titled as the Withnell Dodge Northwest Open Futurity, it not only sized up eight top notch Oregon bred two-year-olds, but it offered the Ron Raley homebred, One Fast Trick, the chance to write the first chapter of its history.

Pulling off a win here would not only give Raley his share of the winner's purse, but a $100,000 bonus.

At 4:40 p.m. PST, the eight two-year-olds sprung from the starting gate. All eyes on One Fast Trick saw the even money favorite break to the left and bump her inside competitor Sneak Bac. She then veered in slightly for a second time immediately afterwards.
On her outside was One Fast Okie, the 8/5 choice who offered the fastest qualifying time of all entrants leading into the Final. After a quick initial bump out of the gate, One Fast Okie stayed his course and drove to the wire with a fury. With One Fast Trick, Sheza Teresa and Hannibal Lector looming boldly on his inside, the son of Okey Dokey Dale took complete command midway through the 400 yard test.

One Fast Okie captured the $29,650 Withnell Dodge Northwest Open Futurity by a length and a quarter in: 20.040. He returned $5.60 to win.

"It is so much harder and tougher breaking from the gate in Quarter Horse racing than Thoroughbreds" said Debbie Hoonan, rider of One Fast Okie. "We came out barreling hard and just raced like a shot up the lane. He was fine throughout, but the second I broke the whip out and cocked it, he immediately kicked it into another gear."

Hoonan, who returned to racing as a rider last spring after a 12-year hiatus, has virtually zero experience on Quarter Horses. "I rode one Quarter Horse race once before today" she continued. "That was back in 1991 and it was a train wreck."

In the absence of a rider, Hoonan picked up three Quarter Horse mounts unexpectedly; winning two of them and finishing third in the other. She won a total of five on the day.

As the cavalry charge of juveniles stormed through the rain down the Portland Meadows strip, all Raley could do was watch his tough filly settle for second best; nineteen- hundredths of a second behind the winner. With that, he and nearly 1,500 fans on track watched the chances of One Fast Trick winning the inaugural OQH Triple Crown end in defeat.

Equally as fast, the $100,000 bonus also became a memory.
With a smile hiding disappointment on his face after the event, Raley offered his thoughts, without making an excuse. "She broke hard and bumped a couple of times but it wasn't enough to cost her the race" he said. "It sure didn't turn out the way I would have liked it to, but, that's horse racing."

Typical of Raley, he is as gracious in defeat as he is in victory.
Second by a nose was One Fast Trick. Sheza Teresa and Hannibal Lector finished third and fourth respectively, each a head apart. Knuds Special Tac, Neava Boots, Sneak Bac, and Snoway Hozay completed the field.