11/07/2002 12:00AM

Feel need for speed? You got it

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Speed, speed, and more speed.

That's what probable favorites Cigi, Perky Pirate, and Longstone bring to Saturday's featured 10th race at Portland Meadows, a six-furlong race for $8,000 non-winners of two that has drawn a field of eight.

Cigi, one of four 3-year-olds in the field, is coming off a front-running victory over maiden special weight company on Oct. 26, while Longstone led all but the final few yards en route to a second-place finish against $4,000 rivals when returning from a layoff on Oct. 27. Perky Pirate, who will make his local debut and is trained by Dan Tanory, has been contesting fast fractions in northern California. Most recently he settled for third after dueling through a quarter-mile in 21.90 seconds in a five-furlong race at Fresno on Oct. 9.

None of the three has displayed an inclination to close ground, so Saturday's headliner could be decided by which runner can gain an early advantage. If nobody can get clear, the race could set up for a strong finisher.

But none of the remaining five entrants consistently fits the description of late-runner. Perhaps Demons Lad comes closest.

Demon's Lad, a 3-year-old son of Demons Begone from the barn of Ron Haasl, collected his maiden win in wire-to-wire fashion here in January, but he has since produced potent closing kicks twice, most recently when he came from seventh to get third, beaten less than a length, in a 5 1/2-furlong race for $6,250 claimers at Emerald Downs Aug. 2. Demon's Lad hasn't raced since Aug. 17 and showed little that day, but he could surprise from off the pace.

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