12/06/2001 1:00AM

Canadian pair clash in sprint


PORTLAND, Ore. - Victor Lehman will attempt to keep his local record perfect on Saturday, when he heads a field of 10 $4,000 sprinters in the six-furlong feature at Portland Meadows.

Victor Lehman, a 4-year-old son of Vying Victor, was claimed out of a win for $4,000 by trainer Felimon Alvarado at Hastings Park in October. Moving here last month, he defeated $2,500 rivals at 5 1/2 furlongs on Nov. 10, then came back to down $4,000 foes on Nov. 18 with six furlongs in a rapid 1:12.85 under Loecca Margrave.

Owner and trainer Ron Haasl claimed him out of that race, and has him back under the same conditions on Saturday, when he will again be ridden by Margrave at 120 pounds.

Victor Lehman may get his stiffest challenge from another recently claimed Canadian, Couthy. After shipping here in sharp form from Hastings Park with trainer Terry Clyde, Couthy fell just a head shy of catching Big Red Irishman at 5 1/2 furlongs in his local debut against $4,000 company on Nov. 11. Trainer Jim Keen claimed him out of that race, then put a strong three-furlong work into him on Wednesday in preparation for Saturday's outing. Keen has tabbed Richard Sanchez to ride at 118 pounds.

Though both Victor Lehman and Couthy have good early foot, the pacesetting chores could fall to either Ask Slew or Lefty McSlew on Saturday. Both have proven dangerous on the front end and either could pull off an upset if able to shake loose of the other.

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