11/09/2007 1:00AM

Berry Viva will target quick pace

EmailPORTLAND, Ore. - Berry Viva will head an extremely competitive group of nine fillies and mares in Sunday's $20,000 Diane Kem Handicap at six furlongs.

Berry Viva, a 6-year-old daughter of Viva Deputy who races for Ron Whitted's K J Star Stable, will tote a highweight assignment of 121 pounds, including rider Javier Matias, on the strength of a stellar career that has seen her win 14 of 54 starts for $180,103 in earnings.

Berry Viva hasn't raced since defeating $20,000 rivals at a mile on Aug. 10 at Emerald Downs, and she will be making her debut at Portland Meadows. If she is ready for a top try and she takes to the local surface, however, she should be hard to deny. Berry Viva is a powerful finisher, and she figures to get a hot pace to target courtesy of a bevy of front-runners in Sunday's lineup.

Chief among the speed brigade is the good 3-year-old Silver Patrona, who will be shooting for her fifth win from six tries at the six-furlong distance. Silver Patrona, a daughter of Tiffany Ice from the barn of trainer Jim Fergason, won four stakes at six furlongs here last season. She faltered in her first start at this stand, finishing a distant fourth to Lady Yodeler in a 5 1/2-furlong invitational handicap on Oct. 14, but she came back to defeat Lady Yodeler and others in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance when last seen on Oct. 30. Joe Crispin will have the mount at 120 pounds.

A possible sleeper in Sunday's field is Strawberriesinjune, who finished second to $8,000 claimers when in need of a race on Oct. 23.