02/21/2003 1:00AM

Mr. Fix eyes win in first leg of series


PORTLAND, Ore. - The popular Marathon Series will kick off Sunday at Portland Meadows with two fields of 10 set to clash under $4,000 starter allowance conditions at nine furlongs.

The series will continue with a 10-furlong leg on March 16 and a 12-furlong leg on April 6, then will conclude with a two-mile race on April 27.

Mr. Fix might be the one to beat in the first of Sunday's split feature, which will go as the eighth race. Mr. Fix, a 4-year-old son of Trick Question and the Majestic Light mare Zarella, is coming off an 8 1/2-length victory over $4,000 claiming company on Feb. 8, when he led throughout 1 1/16 miles in 1:46. Mr. Fix was racing for owner John Petty and trainer Jim Keen that day, but he has since been purchased privately by Ben Root, and will be saddled by the owner's mother, Cookie Root, on Sunday.

"Ben was looking to claim a horse for the Marathon Series, but he didn't have much luck," said Jack Root, the owner's father. "One of the horses he was hoping to claim got beat pretty badly by Mr. Fix, so he made an offer for Mr. Fix and was able to buy him. The horse is bred to run all day, so we are hoping he does well in the series."

The second split, which will go as the ninth and last race on Sunday's card, will match Dancinonadare and Theycallmecolonel, both winners here Feb. 9.

Dancinonadare came from far back to down $4,000 rivals by a neck at 1 1/16 miles, and Theycallmecolonel led throughout a mile to defeat $4,000 starter allowance company by 1 1/2 lengths.

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