01/25/2002 12:00AM

Highweight needs more early pace

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Chinquapin Charlie will carry 125 pounds, taking on six others in Sunday's $7,500-added William Kyne Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race at Portland Meadows.

Chinquapin Charlie, a 5-year-old trained by Jim Hambleton of Vancouver, Wash., won this season's Thanksgiving Handicap, as well as last season's Polynesian Flyer Handicap and Portland Meadows Mile, to earn highweight honors for the Kyne.

In the 1 1/16-mile Thanksgiving Handicap, which was his only start at this meet, Chinquapin Charlie trailed a field of seven into the stretch, but accelerated through the final three sixteenths to post a two-length victory in 1:42.41, while toting 122 pounds. Both the layoff and the weight assignment are concerns for trainer Steve Fisher. But he said he is most concerned about his horse's lack of speed in a race with very little apparent pace.

"At least he is capable of making a long move," Fisher said. "If [jockey] Marijo [Terleski can have him in striking distance of the leaders at the top of the stretch, then he'll have a chance."

The speed of Sunday's field is Yesss, the co-second-highweight with the Fisher-trained Fly Buddy Fly at 119 pounds.

Yesss is coming off a front-running win over his own age group in the 1 1/16-mile Oregon His Stakes on Dec. 15. He ran the race in 1:49.07, defeating Fly Buddy Fly by half a length. Yesss's chances of grabbing an easy lead in the Kyne were enhanced at the draw, as he drew the favorable rail post.

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