01/19/2007 1:00AM

Lethal Grande a heavy favorite


PORTLAND, Ore. - Racing will resume at Portland Meadows on Sunday after an entire week was lost to severe winter weather, and the feature will have a familiar look.

Director of racing Jerry Kohls has re-carded an invitational handicap for older runners that was scheduled to be run last Sunday at six furlongs. Kohls shortened the race to five furlongs, as few horses have been able to train over the last week, but he has lured four of the five original entrants, plus newcomer Crimson Design.

Lethal Grande, an easy winner of his last two outings, figures to be a heavy favorite. Lethal Grande, an 8-year-old who has earned over $352,000 during his career, is coming off a seven-length win in the six-furlong Oregon Sprint Championship on Dec. 10. He ran the distance in 1:09.80, less than a second off his own track record of 1:09. Lethal Grande, a front-runner, should be even tougher at the abbreviated distance. Trainer Tom Longstaff has again named Javier Ortega to ride at 126 pounds.

The addition of Crimson Design to the field adds a good deal of interest, as he is coming off a remarkable effort in a six-furlong test for $16,000 claimers Jan. 2. Crimson Design threw his head at the start to get away an estimated 10 lengths behind his field, but closed furiously to be beaten only 1 1/4 lengths by Knightsbridge Road. Joe Crispin will ride at 121 pounds.