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From out of the fog...

November 29, 2004     E-mail this page to a friend!

by Patrick Kerrison

Through extremely dense fog, the action in the last three races on the November 26 card at Portland Meadows was seen clearly by the riders and only the riders. Inclusive of the three tests was the featured $10,000 Thanksgiving Handicap.

To give an idea of what it looked like, on the front side of the racetrack, riders and patrons could see clearly for about one hundred feet in front of themselves. However, the remainder of the track seemed to have virtually disappeared.

Nevertheless, the field of 12 broke from the gate in front of the stands for the one-mile event in search of the spoils.

"When we broke out of the gate, we broke well," said jockey Melissa Peery about the ride on her mount Table Me N Saros. "We went straight for the lead and when we hit the first turn, Star of Rehaan made a move himself and took the lead from us. I was just off of him by about three parts of a length.

"Up the backstretch we went back at him and took the lead. We opened up by about three or four lengths," she continued. "When we reached the final turn, I looked back to see where the others were and I was about five [lengths] in front. I couldn't really hear anybody until Debbie [Hoonan] started screaming down the stretch."

Hoonan was aboard the lukewarm 3-1 favorite, and multiple Portland Meadows stakes winner, Yesss.

"Debbie always finishes well and when I heard her coming I knew it was time to ask for something more."

Doing just that, Peery and the five year old gelding by Saros (GB) out of Gaelic Never, drove hard, maintained their commanding lead, and finished uncontested in capturing the one-mile Thanksgiving Handicap in 1:39 2/5. He returned $25.00 to win.
Table Me N Saros is owned by Alyson Harper and trained by Jim Sayler. It was the sixth winner Sayler saddled this meet in 21 starts.

Making the blanketing presentation to Harper and Sayler was local racing fan and the race's honorary steward, Jennifer L. Martell. Hoonan and Yesss finished a determined second. Zip the Bright, the public's second choice with Juan Gutierrez aboard, was third.

"Throughout the whole race we could see where we were going," Peery continued. "Just like the view everyone had on the frontside as we raced, it was the same for us on the entire oval as we went along."

As race announcer Mike O'Brien labored through the call of the event, unable to tell guests of the race's developments, he - like the rest of us - waited until we heard the pounding of hoofs hitting the top of the lane. At that point, out of the fog and mist came the field of twelve with Table Me N Saros leading the charge.

The Thanksgiving Handicap was the third big win for Peery this meet. On October 30th, she and Eighty Eighty captured the OTBA Sales Stakes last week she and Keep On Turkin won the HBPA Invitational.