09/23/2016 9:50AM

Portland Meadows opens with stakes double


The 70th season of racing at Portland Meadows begins Sunday with a Thoroughbred stakes doubleheader.

The $10,000 Inaugural for 3-year-olds and up attracted 10 runners, while the $10,000 Multnomah Falls has seven fillies and mares signed up. Both races are at 5 1/2 furlongs.

The 37-day meet, which continues through Jan. 3, features racing most Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, with free parking and free general admission.

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The track’s biggest day is Dec. 18, with seven races for Oregon-breds highlighted by the $15,000 Lethal Grande Oregon Sprint Championship and stakes for 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds.

The meet’s signature race, the $25,000 Portland Mile, is scheduled for Dec. 4 along with the Portland Distaff for fillies and mares and the Columbia River Stakes for 2-year-olds.

The $25,000 Oregon Derby is scheduled for closing day, Jan. 3.

In addition to the 24 Thoroughbred stakes, there are nine Quarter Horse stakes, including the $20,000-added Portland Meadows Championship Bonus Challenge at 440 yards.

On Sunday, Dance With Effie is the 8-5 morning-line favorite as she makes her Portland Meadows debut in the Multnomah Falls after a solid season at Emerald Downs. Mary Lois is the 3-1 second pick. Society Girl is making her first start since Nov. 17 and has three bullet works for her return. Her record here is 10-3-1 from 15 starts.

The Inaugural seems wide open, with Grinder Sparksaglo listed as the 5-2 favorite to pick up his first win of the year. My Chief is the 7-2 second choice.

Rocco Bowen edged Leonel Camacho-Flores by one winner, 52-51, in last year’s jockey race, and he will duel with Camacho-Flores for the title again. Rigoberto Velasquez, who nearly doubled the win total of his nearest rival, will try to repeat as the leading trainer.