02/16/2007 12:00AM

Silver Patrona hard to stop


PORTLAND, Ore. - Silver Patrona will rule as an overwhelming favorite when she takes on four intrepid challengers in Sunday's Portland Meadows feature, a one-mile invitational handicap for 3-year-old fillies.

Silver Patrona, a daughter of Tiffany Ice from the barn of trainer Jim Fergason, has won all five of her starts at the meeting by comfortable margins. After scoring her maiden win by six lengths here in October, she ran off consecutive wins in the Janet Wineberg, the Lassie, the Jane Driggers Debutante, and the Ms. Stakes. Her smallest margin of victory in those races was three lengths.

Silver Patrona faces two new challenges on Sunday, however. She will be attempting the longest distance of her career, as she has never before raced beyond six furlongs. She will also be asked to carry 124 pounds, which is two pounds more than she has carried in the past. Regardless, both Fergason and regular rider Joe Crispin are confident that Silver Patrona will be up to her task.

Though Silver Patrona has a large and enthusiastic following here, owner George Hurliman and trainer Nick Lowe probably have not joined her fan club. They have matched Little Cascadian against Silver Patrona in 5 of her 6 career starts, and she has finished second to her nemesis in 4 of those races. Were it not for Silver Patrona, Little Cascadian, who is still a maiden, would have 4 wins, 3 stakes victories and over $20,000 in additional earnings to her credit.

Little Cascadian will get six pounds from Silver Patrona on Sunday, and her connections are hopeful that the weight break, combined with another quarter-mile of distance, will alter the results.