03/02/2006 1:00AM

Cascades Express too good


PORTLAND, Ore. - Cascades Express will be a heavy choice when she meets four intrepid challengers in Saturday's $10,000 Mary Goldblatt Stakes, a one-mile race for Oregon-bred 3-year-old fillies at Portland Meadows.

Cascades Express, a daughter of Cascadian from the barn of trainer Jonathan Nance, has proven to be among the top 3-year-old fillies on the grounds. She ran second to Royal Snowflight in the six-furlong Lassie Stakes in December and was again second, to entrymate Lawanda, when last seen in the Jan. 7 Mt. St. Helens Stakes at a mile.

Both of those races were open stakes.

In stakes for Oregon-breds, Cascades Express has been dominant. She won the Janet Wineberg Stakes in November by nearly eight lengths, and she was 3 1/2 lengths the best in the Jane Driggers Debutante Stakes on Oregon Championship Day, Dec. 31.

Cascades Express faces two rivals who each has only a maiden claiming win to her credit. Fettles Klan graduated at the $10,000 level, while Confidential Lady collected her maiden win against $8,000 foes. Her other two challengers, Top Diamond Dancer and Evening Rain, are still maidens. None of the four has attempted two turns.

Despite her maiden status, Top Diamond Dancer is the only apparent speed in the Mary Goldblatt field and may have the best chance to spring an upset.