11/26/2003 12:00AM

'Grande' a horse for the course


PORTLAND, Ore. - Lethal Grande carries high weight of 124 pounds, including regular rider Danny Boag, when he takes on six challengers in Friday's $10,000 Thanksgiving Handicap at Portland Meadows.

The 4-year-old Lethal Grande, who races for Michael Pollowitz, is coming off back-to-back wins in the Inaugural Handicap on Oct. 18 and an allowance race on Nov. 8, both at six furlongs. He has won 5 of 8 career outings here and finished a close second to Poker Brad in last season's Portland Meadows Mile.

Lethal Grande is expected to receive his sternest challenge in Friday's one-mile race from Yesss, who closed smartly to be beaten less than a length by Lethal Grande on Nov. 8, his first start since August. Yesss, a 5-year-old who races for Shirley Webb, the wife of trainer Delmer Webb, is another Portland Meadows specialist. He has won 9 of 29 local outings, including victories in the last two runnings of the William Kyne Handicap at nine furlongs. Regular rider Twyla Beckner will have the mount at 121 pounds.

Star of Rehaan, a closing second to Lethal Grande in the Inaugural Handicap and third after dueling for the early lead in the Nov. 8 allowance, is another threat. Trainer Jacqui Navarre said she hopes that Star of Rehaan, a headstrong horse, will settle off the early pace. Joe Crispin will ride at 118 pounds.

Friday's nine-race program will have a special first post time of 2:30 p.m. Saturday's racing will also begin at 2:30. The first post will change to 1:35 p.m. on Monday.