03/27/2004 12:00AM

Feature has no clear-cut favorite


PORTLAND, Ore. - An evenly matched field of seven older sprinters, each eligible to be claimed for $6,250 to $5,000, will vie at six furlongs in Monday's top offering at Portland Meadows.

Though favoritism is up for grabs, Stately Jack Flash figures strongly off his most recent outing, a closing second to City Parkway in a 5 1/2 furlong test for $5,000 claimers March 15. That was the third straight win for City Parkway, who jumped up to the stakes ranks in Saturday's Governor's Speed Handicap.

Stately Jack Flash was a stakes winner here at 2, but he won only once from nine starts last year while campaigning mostly at Hastings in British Columbia. Stately Jack Flash's March 15 outing was just the second of his current form cycle, and he may be ready to show his best stuff in his third start back from a lengthy layoff.

Among Stately Wager's challengers is Les Crime, who scored at the allowance level in a five-furlong test last month. Les Crime came back to finish a distant fifth in a wide-open six-furlong allowance March 6, but he will be returning to his comfort level Monday and should appreciate the class relief.

Also dangerous is Donnys Dimund Slew, who appears to be the speed of Monday's field. Trained by Roger Stolp, Donnys Dimund Slew led throughout to defeat $5,000 and $6,250 company here in November and December, but he has not been able to carry his speed in three subsequent starts against tougher company. Monday's class drop could produce an easier lead, which should lead to a stronger finish.