12/01/2004 1:00AM

Arch rivals matched up again


PORTLAND, Ore. - Beluga Star and In Search of Fame, the top two finishers in the 350-yard Autumn Handicap on Oct. 23, will have a rematch at 400 yards in Friday's $6,000 Columbia River Handicap, which has drawn a field of 10 older Quarter Horses.

An 8-year-old trained by James Jr., In Search of Fame was favored at 4-5 in the Autumn Handicap and pushed Beluga Star throughout, but yielded late to be beaten a half-length in 17.91. It was a rare local defeat for In Search of Fame, who has won 25 of his 31 outings at Portland Meadows.

Beluga Star, a 7-year-old trained by Gary Klinger, has chased In Search of Fame home repeatedly over the last several years. Beluga Star carried 124 pounds to In Search of Fame?s 127 in the Autumn Handicap, but Friday he must carry 125 to the 126 of In Search of Fame, who is the highweight.

Close behind the top two at 124 pounds is Movin Meter, who comes off a trio of thirds against allowance rivals at Los Alamitos. Last year, Movin Meter won a Grade 3 stakes at Los Alamitos, and for her career she has posted 11 wins from 23 starts for $118,615 in earnings.

The Columbia River will go as the eighth of nine live races, with first post set for 7 p.m.

Friday's top Thoroughbred offering is the fourth race, which matches seven fillies and mares, each eligible to be claimed for $6,250 to $5,000, at six furlongs.