02/07/2002 12:00AM

It's fiasco vs. fiasco at closing time


PORTLAND, Ore. - The Memorial, a $6,000-added stakes for 3-year-old Quarter Horses at 350 yards, tops a 14-race card on Saturday, the next-to-last day of racing at the Portland Meadows meet.

Oh Mindy Oh and Micro Meter are likely to vie for favoritism in the field of six, despite coming off efforts that could be described as fiascos. Oh Mindy Oh, a daughter of Strawfly Special from the barn of Mark Garrison, won a trial and just missed in the finals of the rich Far West Futurity in her first two starts at Portland Meadows. Coming back in an allowance race on Jan. 6, however, she refused to leave the gate and was credited - or debited - with a last-place finish.

Micro Meter, a gelding trained by Baxter Andruss, won the Jan. 6 allowance as a slight favorite over Oh Mindy Oh, which earned him a shot against older rivals in the 350-yard Directors Handicap on Jan. 19. Unfortunately, he broke through the gate before the start of that race and did not appear to have his mind on running after he was reloaded, finishing a well-beaten fifth of seven.

The recent gate woes of the two probable favorites enhance the appeal of His Greatest Effort, who has won two of his last three starts on the $7,500 claiming level.

* Saturday's card also features the debut of Painted La Riva, who will meet 3-year-old maiden special weight fillies at five furlongs in the eighth race. Painted La Riva, a daughter of Airdrie Apache and the Riva Ridge mare Lazy Ridge, is one of only a handful of horses to qualify for registration both as a Thoroughbred and as a Paint Horse.

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