11/01/2003 1:00AM

Ionix gets rematch with 'Duke'


PORTLAND, Ore. - Cherishing Duke and Ionix, the top two finishers in a race here on opening day, will have a rematch in Monday's six-furlong feature for $5,000 fillies and mares.

Cherishing Duke proved best by three-quarters of a length on opening day, when she came from just off the pace to prevail in a 5 1/2-furlong race in 1:08.01. It was the third win from 11 starts for Cherishing Duke, a 4-year-old daughter of Go for Gin from the barn of trainer Debbie Van Horne. Jose Rivera Jr. had the mount on opening day and will ride again Monday at 121 pounds.

Ionix disappointed as the 2-1 choice when she lost to Cherishing Duke on Oct. 18, but she finished with a rush after breaking slowly and galloped out in front. That was the first start since April for Ionix, a 5-year-old daughter of Maudlin who races for trainer Jonathan Nance and partners, and she figures to move forward. Bob Webb returns to ride at 119 pounds.

Two other entrants are also dangerous. Lookout for Ruth is coming off a sharp win in $4,000 company on Oct. 20, when she covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:07.04.

Seeking Love won three straight races here last spring and is coming off a fast-finishing second to $3,200 company at Emerald Downs on Sept. 18, when she was beaten just a length after 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.20.

Both Lookout for Ruth and Seeking Love will carry 119 pounds, with Twyla Beckner riding the former for trainer Delmer Webb and Nate Chaves taking over on Seeking Love for trainer A. Mark Jones.

Monday's nine-race card gets under way at 2:30 p.m.