01/03/2003 12:00AM

An Naabi one to beat in step up

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PORTLAND, Ore. - An Naabi will seek a fourth straight victory at Portland Meadows on Sunday when he heads a field of seven older sprinters, each eligible to be claimed for $10,000, in the six-furlong feature race.

The feature will go as the ninth of 11 live races that have lured a total of 116 entrants. The first race goes at 1 p.m.

An Naabi, who is equally effective from on or just off the pace, has posted wins over $5,000, $6,250, and $8,000 claimers in three starts at this meeting, all at six furlongs, and seems capable of taking another modest step up the class ladder on Sunday. Regular rider Marijo Terleski again has the call from trainer Eulia Bischoff, who has scored with 14 of her 39 starters at the stand.

An Naabi is likely to be challenged early and late, as the speedy Bold Chant should contest the pace and the fast-finishing Lovers Son seems certain to pose a threat in the stretch. Bold Chant, who will break from the outside post under Monica Barber, is coming off a narrow loss to Be the Bunny in a six-furlong allowance race run Dec. 1, while Lovers Son is exiting a strong second to Rose City Special in the six-furlong Oregon Sprint Championship, which was run Dec. 14. Lovers Son will be ridden by Danny Boag.

Risk Seeker, who is invading from Hastings Park, looms as a possible upsetter under Edgar Montehermoso. Claimed by trainer Eric Turner out of a second-place effort in a $6,000 claiming race when last seen on Oct. 26, Risk Seeker has not been worse than third in his last nine outings and posted three wins last year.

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