03/06/2004 12:00AM

Mt. Vista aims for 4th win of meet


PORTLAND, Ore. - Mt. Vista will head a competitive field of five older horses in Monday's best race at Portland Meadows, a one-mile claiming race for $8,000.

The feature has been named the Rod Gibson Memorial, in honor of the young trainer who passed away Feb. 17. Gibson and his father, H.R., trained former Washington-bred horse of the year L.J. Express.

Mt. Vista, a 5-year-old son of Peaks and Valleys, has won 3 of 4 at Portland Meadows, including a mile event for $8,000 claimers in his last out, on Feb. 9. His only loss at the stand came in the William Kyne Handicap on Jan. 24, when he finished second, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by the heavily favored Yesss.

Trained by Ben Root, Mt. Vista figures to receive a stern challenge from Jekyll and Hyde, a 7 1/4-length winner over $5,000 rivals at a mile Feb. 2. A 7-year-old son of Latin American, Jekyll and Hyde races for owners George and Rose Hurliman and trainer Nick Lowe, who re-claimed Jekyll and Hide out of his recent win. Jekyll and Hyde was claimed away from Hurliman and Lowe in his Portland Meadows debut Jan. 3, when he defeated $3,200 foes by four lengths at a mile. Between those wins, he ran fifth to Yesss and Mt. Vista in the Kyne.

Also dangerous are Ten Across and Gold for Ghost, who finished first and second, a neck apart, in a $6,250 claiming event Feb. 21. Ten Across and Gold for Ghost also finished a neck apart in their previous outing, when Gold for Ghost finished third and Ten Across fourth behind Mt. Vista on Feb. 9.