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Portland Meadow closing day yields Awards

May 9, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Patrick J. Kerrison
Portland, OR, May 7 – Sunday afternoon’s race card at Portland Meadows completed an 80-day race meet with accolades for a record setting trainer, an exceptionally tight Quarter Horse jockey race, and the honoring of a true sportsman.

Trainer Jim Fergason earned his fifth training title at Portland Meadows and did so in record fashion. With 67 victories to his credit, Fergason won more races than any other trainer in one season at the Delta Park oval.

Fergason finished 28 wins ahead of his nearest rival. Owner David Green accepted the award on his behalf.

Jockey Jose L. Zunino, who credits Fergason for much of his success at the meet among many other trainers, earned the leading rider title with his 85 wins. It is the first riding title for the Argentinean native.

“There have been so many people involved with my success this year,” Zunino said. “By no means is this a one-man show. Not at all. Mr. Fergason put me on some really solid stock this season and gave me an opportunity to win a lot of races.

“Of course, with 85 wins there are so very many people I am greatly appreciative of including my agent Keith Nations.” Nations accepted the award on Zunino’s behalf.

This was the first year Nations ever worked as a jockey’s agent and it resulted in a leading rider title. He also ‘hustled book’ for Marijo Terleski (50 wins) and Zachary Sebreth (23 wins) as well.

Leading Apprentice honors went to Jerry Remer. A native of Orting, Washington, Remer won his first race on February 19, 2005 aboard Mr. Mayday at Portland Meadows. Since then Remer has won a total of 45 races with 40 of those victories coming this season.

“My agent deserves a lot of the credit,” Remer said. “Without him and the horsemen and the horses, I don’t have much. I appreciate all everyone has done to help me.”

In the Quarter Horse ranks, trainer Scott Raley ran away with the training title thanks to 15 wins for the season. His nearest competitor had 10. Raley also led all Quarter Horse trainers in earnings, with an impressive $87,266 tallied.

Raley has enjoyed success with dashers such as CR Isle Be Baq, One Royal Prince, Sneak Bac, Two Dash To Fame and the Portland Meadows Futurity winner EZ Speedy Leader.

Leading Quarter Horse Rider honors were bestowed upon Twyla Beckner. With three jockeys wrapping up the season with 12 victories each (Clark Jones and Tim Neal the others), it was Beckner’s 12 second place finishers that gave her the edge and thus the title of Portland Meadows Leading Quarter Horse Rider for the 2005-2006 meet.

Beckner has ridden winners for multiple trainers and is frequently the “go-to girl” for trainers Ron Raley and Fern Wilde.

Beckner is also the regular pilot for the speedy One Fast Trick who has won eight of nine starts at Portland Meadows in her career, including the Portland Meadows Fall Derby this year.

Jockey Zachary Sebreth was named the 2005-06 recipient of the Dan Castle Award. An honor presented to the rider who best epitomizes the memory and professionalism of former jockey Dan Castle, such a rider is one who maintains a commitment to horse racing, sportsmanship and professionalism both on and off the racetrack.

Sebreth, who made his Portland Meadows riding debut this season, quickly earned popularity among his peers and horsemen alike for embodying those very traits.

“This is such a surprise to me,” Sebreth said. “This is a wonderful honor and I am very grateful.”

Castle was the only rider ever to die from injuries sustained in a fall at Portland Meadows in 1972.

With the conclusion of live racing Sunday afternoon, please note that Portland Meadows Racetrack remains open for simulcasting from all the best tracks across the country and around the world six days a week, Wednesdays through Mondays.