12/12/2001 1:00AM

At her best, Inanout takes these


PORTLAND, Ore. - Inanout, who posted a confidence-building win just a week ago, will attempt to step up and repeat in Friday's featured eighth race at Portland Meadows. The six-furlong race has drawn seven fillies and mares, all eligible to be claimed for $3,200.

Inanout, a 6-year-old daughter of Kipper Kelly, was among the top sprinters in her division through the early portion of last season's meet, but fell on hard times after the first of the year and ran off nine straight demoralizing losses in 2001. Seeking to turn the Florida-bred Inanout around, trainer Nick Lowe dropped her in with restricted $2,500 company last Friday, and Inanout responded with an impressive 5 1/2-length victory after six furlongs in 1:15.20. She'll need to step up her game against Friday's tougher company, but Inanout has back class to spare and is fully capable of repeating if she runs back to her better races. Leading rider Juan Gutierrez, aboard for Inanout's recent score, again has the mount.

Inanout can expect a stiff challenge from Couldn't Be, who is the lone 3-year-old in the field. Couldn't Be has looked sharp in all three of her starts at this stand, running first and second against older $6,250 runners before finishing third to 3-year-olds while carrying a $5,000 claiming price in her last start on Dec. 1.

Also looming as threats are Not All Sweetness, stepping down after a subpar effort against $5,000 foes on Dec. 2, and For Effer Slew, who won for a $3,200 price two races back before finishing second under the same conditions last time out on Nov. 24.

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