11/30/2001 12:00AM

Murdock just needs repeat effort


PORTLAND, Ore. - Recent winners Murdock and I'm Yer Hucklebery head a mixed bag of eight in Sunday's six-furlong allowance feature at Portland Meadows.

The field comprises three 3-year-olds, including a filly, an older mare, and four older males.

Murdock, a 4-year-old son of Cahill Road and Missy Allen, and thus a full brother to the multiple stakes-winning filly Mishill, may have an edge after his sharp front-running win here on Nov. 18. In his first start since April, Murdock set a pressured pace under Victor Mercado through six furlongs in 1:13.65 and prevailed by a half-length over Kid Chrome. Trainer Roger Stevenson, who has again named Mercado to ride, at 121 pounds, thinks Murdock should move forward off his return race.

It appears little improvement is necessary for Murdock to win again.

Murdock figures to be challenged early by I'm Yer Hucklebery, who has held the lead in most of his 13 starts. He is coming off a wire-to-wire victory over $8,000 claimers on Nov. 18, when he ran five furlongs in 1:00.40.

A 3-year-old, I'm Yer Hucklebery defeated older rivals on Nov. 18, but it should be noted that he set considerably slower fractions than did Murdock one race earlier. Trainer Nick Lowe has named Bob Webb to ride at 119 pounds.

Should Murdock and I'm Yer Hucklebery contend too vigorously for the early lead, Kid Chrome may be the one to benefit most. A 4-year-old, Kid Chrome finished fast and just missed against Murdock on Nov. 18. He breaks from the outside post under Vince Ward at 119 pounds on Sunday.