04/21/2006 12:00AM

Both halves of split race look tough

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Evening News will shoot for his 17th career win in the first half of Sunday's split feature at Portland Meadows.

Both the eighth and ninth races on the 10-race card are $4,000 claiming races for older horses at six furlongs. The six-horse eighth race looks competitive, as five are coming off a top-three finish. The ninth will go with seven runners, and six of these horses figured in the trifecta in their last race.

Evening News, a winner of 3 of his last 4 tries at the $2,500 level, should be favored in the eighth. Evening News, a 10-year-old trained by Billy Christian, will be ridden for the first time by apprentice Shawna Whiteside.

Petty's Way, who dead-heated for second behind Evening News in the April 2 race, should be the favorite in the ninth. Petty's Way came back to beat $3,200 rivals by nearly a length on April 9 and enters the fray in especially sharp form. Tadd Skaggs will ride Petty's Way for trainer Roberta Lewis.

Also dangerous in the ninth is the veteran Muscovy, who is dropping out of the $5,000 starter allowance ranks. Muscovy posted a win and a close second against $5,000 foes in his two prior starts.