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Ex Mountain Cop dances through slop to impressive victory

November 20, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

(photo by Portland Meadows)
By Patrick Kerrison

Portland, OR – It doesn’t matter who you ask: the rider, the trainer, the Racing Secretary, or your average Portland Meadows racing fan. They’ll all tell you the same thing. Ex Mountain Cop is some kind of racehorse.

After dancing through the muck of a sloppy Portland Meadows racing surface in the November 19 Columbia River Stakes worth $22,050, Ex Mountain Cop sealed his third straight stakes victory and is well on his way to being the indisputable favorite for the Os West Oregon Futurity on Oregon Championship Day, December 10.

Rushed to the front when the latch sprung open, Ex Mountain Cop and rider Juan Gutierrez set a rapid and pressured pace of 21 4/5 with He’sabigtalker just off his hip.

Splashing through the half in 45 seconds flat, Gutierrez gave the son of Ex Marks the Cop his cue and detached himself from his foe and eight additional rivals to open up by three and a half lengths.

At the top of the straight, Gutierrez decided it was time to show Ex Mountain Cop the whip in order to keep his mind on business and stay focused. They lengthened their advantage to five lengths.

When they hit the sixteenth pole, Gutierrez showed the whip once more and then aggressively hand-rode his charge under the wire a nine-and-a-half-lengths winner, all but solidifying his title as the season’s top juvenile.

“I wanted to hand ride him and keep his attention on his game,” said Gutierrez. “One thing I don’t want to do is teach him to sit and wait for someone to come at him, then run. He is a classy horse. He’s a talented horse, and he is a fast horse.”

They went five-eighths of a mile in 58 seconds, then completed the event in 1:11 2/5.

“He has a great deal of natural talent,” Gutierrez continued. “I don’t want to have to ask him for too much by using the stick. Obviously I didn’t have to. I only needed to show it to him.”

Ex Mountain Cop, who was not nominated to the October 22 OTOBA Sales Stakes, costing the owners $4,000 to supplement him to the race, won that event and became eligible for a $30,000 bonus should he win the Os West Oregon Futurity next month.

That spendy risk returned great dividends with the win for owners Maynard Davis and Charles Novak.

Trainer Jonathan Nance returned to enter him two weeks later in the Bill Wineberg Stakes. Another event at 6-furlongs and the first time over a sloppy track, Ex Mountain Cop won that race unchallenged, crossing under the wire eight and a quarter lengths to the good of his nearest foe.

Ex Mountain Cop ran the way a 1/5 should and paid $2.60, $2.40 and $2.10. He’sabigtalker held second to pay $8.40 and $5.00 while Tripod, at 69-1, came four wide through the lane to get third and pay a whopping $23.60 to show.

The Os West Oregon Futurity is a one-mile test that requires the contestants to go two turns. Ex Mountain Cop ran the mile distance once before, on a fast Emerald Downs surface, finishing third in a maiden claiming race while running for a $20,000 tag.

Only one other horse in Sunday’s Columbia River Stakes has run two turns and that was Gunshy, who finished eighth in the same race in which Ex Mountain Cop was third. Gunshy finished off the board in Sunday’s stakes.

“I think he can go two turns,” Gutierrez said. “Like I said, he is a natural and he has proven to like this track.”

If Gutierrez, Nance and all those who watched Ex Mountain Cop on Sunday are right, Oregon breeders will write their first bonus check since the opportunity for such came into existence in 2003.