Lethal Grande, last year's Oregon Horse of the Year, was in control all the way as he captured the $40,000 Maker's Mark Portland Meadows Mile Handicap, the track's top event.Leading by three lengths after six furlongs, Lethal Grande finished a length ahead of 4-5 favorite Poker Brad.Under the controls of Bobby Webb, Lethal Grande set fractions of :23 2/5, :47 2/5 and 1:12 1/5, completing the race in 1:38 4/5. This was the second consecutive Portland Meadows Mile win for Webb. The last rider to win the Portland Meadows Mile in consecuctive years was Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, who won in 1982 and 1983 with Fleeting Fortunes and Big Cougar, respectively.A 5-year-old Oregon-bred gelding by Corslew out of La Bardot (by Somethingfabulous), Lethal Grande avenged his second place finish last year to Poker Brad who, despite a game effort, gave futile chase. Webb rode Poker Brad in the 2003 feature."I could see him coming" Webb said after the race. "I blew by Lethal Grande last year on him and I thought 'boy, I'd better get on my belly and ride.' "When I asked him about the eighth pole he really took off for me. I just got lucky that nothing pushed him really hard early on."Lethal Grande, who has never been off the board in 11 Portland Meadows starts, captured his sixth win over the track and increased his PM earnings to over $65,000. His lifetime earnings reached $168,020. Michael Pollowitz owns the winner, who returned an eye-opening $15.60, $7 and $4.20 as the fourth choice in a field of seven. He is expected to head back to Northern California this week.
"He came here pretty fit from California" said trainer Guru Dharma Khalsa. "Dennis Patterson did a great job with him down there. I trained him pretty lightly, breezed him once going three-eighths easy. He was fit when he got here so I wanted him fresh going into it."Poker Brad returned $3.40 and $3.80. Court's in Session was $3 to show.(Chart, Equibase)