02/14/2004 1:00AM

Moneycat looking for 4th straight


PORTLAND, Ore. - Razor-sharp Moneycat, who has won three straight, steps up seeking No. 4 at Portland Meadows in Monday's feature.

"He's been running good, but we've jumped him up a little bit," trainer Dan Tanory said.

Moneycat has been running for a $2,500 tag, but will run for $3,200 in Monday's six-furlong sprint.

The step up should be viewed as a positive for Tanory, who has done little wrong of late. He has saddled nine winners from 16 starters and also has a pair of second-place finishes.

Moneycat has won by five, four, and 1 3/4 lengths in his three straight victories, while showing versatility. He was favored in all three after faltering in a $5,000 claimer in his previous start. He was second in his debut here at the $2,500 level.

On Dec. 19, he sat right off the pacesetter before taking over into the stretch and pulling away. On Jan. 3, he went wire to wire. In his last start, on Jan. 26, he was off the pace early but rallied four wide to take the lead in the stretch and was pulling away late.

Mr. Melcap, who was claimed from a wire-to-wire victory at a mile, has won two straight and looms as the primary competition. He won a five-furlong sprint for this tag two back and, like Moneycat, is 2 for 2 here this year.

Also like Moneycat, Mr. Melcap likes this track, winning four of seven starts. Moneycat has won three of his five starts here.

Lotta Slew, claimed from a second-place finish in his last start, should be another factor with a good stalking trip. All six of his career victories have come here.