04/08/2003 11:00PM

'Max' should like extra distance


PORTLAND, Ore. - Max Fast Flight heads a field of eight older horses who will seek a second career win in Friday's top offering at Portland Meadows, a 1 1/16-mile race for $4,000 claimers.

Max Fast Flight, who won his maiden at the $8,000 level in February, is coming off a fast-finishing second to Ichiro Run in a mile race for $4,000 claimers on March 30. He figures to relish the added distance on Friday, when he will again be ridden by Danny Boag at 122 pounds.

Max Fast Flight's chief opposition figures to come from three recent maiden winners. Yukon Mac, Scooters Knight, and War Toad all graduated at the $4,000 level in their last outing, with Yukon Mac and Scooters Knight scoring at a mile in March and War Toad winning at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 14.

Yukon Mac appears especially dangerous, as he is the apparent speed in a field well-stocked with stretch-runners. Yukon Mac, a 6-year-old son of Blue Moonofalaska who races for trainer Joann Shirk, led past every pole to score by a neck March 29. He will again be ridden by Flip Nollar at 122 pounds.

Another who could show speed is Valiant M.D., who stretches out after a pair of even fourth-place efforts at six furlongs. That he was able to stay close to sprint fractions in both of those races suggests he may be able to get to the front at Friday's distance, and his inside post provides jockey Ron Keckler with the incentive to use his mount early to avoid being shuffled back. Keckler will ride for trainer Chris Hartman at 120 pounds.