01/05/2007 1:00AM

Little Cascadian gets her shot


PORTLAND, Ore. - Little Cascadian attempts to take advantage of Silver Patrona's absence to score her initial victory in Sunday's top offering at Portland Meadows, a six-furlong invitational handicap that has drawn a field of six 3-year-old fillies.

Silver Patrona has been more than a rival to Little Cascadian. She has been her nemesis. Little Cascadian has raced four times in her career, and Silver Patrona has won all of those races. Little Cascadian has finished second in three of those races, including the Janet Wineberg Stakes and last month's Jane Driggers Debutante Stakes.

With Silver Patrona being freshened, Little Cascadian should have a big shot to win for the first time. Javier Ortega, who rode Little Cascadian in the Driggers, again has the call from trainer Nick Lowe.

Little Cascadian should receive her stiffest opposition from McBride, who ran third in the Driggers. Though she finished five lengths behind Little Cascadian in the Driggers, McBride came back to score a sharp win over $12,500 rivals on Dec. 31 and will have an advantage in recency on Sunday. Trainer Jonathan Nance has named Clark Jones to ride.

Also a threat is Bagels Baby, an impressive winner over $8,000 maidens in her lone start on Dec. 12. Though Bagels Baby is stepping up sharply in class, she owns the best Beyer in the field, a 52, and she has every reason to improve in her second start. Leading rider Joe Crispin has the call from trainer Jim Fergason.

Free Kitty, Jury Duty, and Danjuria round out the field. Free Kitty is still a maiden after four starts, but Jury Duty and Danjuria both graduated at the maiden special weight level at this meeting.