10/31/2001 12:00AM

He's your speedster

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PORTLAND, Ore. - I'm Yer Hucklebery will be the one to catch in Friday's featured eighth race at Portland Meadows, a 5 1/2- furlong event for $8,000 nonwinners-of-two, which has drawn a field of seven.

I'm Yer Hucklebery, a 3-year-old son of Peterhof who races for Rolling Rock Stables, has secured the lead after a quarter-mile in all but the first of his 11 lifetime starts. A speedy Washington-bred, he collected his maiden win racing 4 1/2 furlongs for a $27,500 claiming price as a 2-year-old at Emerald Downs, but he did not score in eight starts at Emerald this year. He is dropping to his lowest level ever on Friday, however, and his early foot should prove difficult to overcome at the distance. Bob Webb has the call from trainer Nick Lowe at 121 pounds.

Though all of I'm Yer Hucklebery's foes will be seeking a second official win, Go Salem By has wins at Salem and Grants Pass, which don't count against his conditions, to go with a local score and merits a close look on that basis. He has the benefit of a recent race, having run third in a similar spot here on last Saturday's card. Go Salem By does his best running on the lead, however, and that spot may be taken in Friday's headliner.

Dear John figures to benefit if a speed duel develops, A Don Munger-trained 5-year-old, he has finished strongly in most of his races. He will be shortening up from his last effort, a second-place finish in a six-furlong race for $5,000 claimers at Emerald on Sept. 15, but he collected his maiden win at the 5 1/2-furlong distance and seems capable of upsetting with a favorable pace scenario.

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