11/20/2002 12:00AM

Smoking Cigi gets the nod


PORTLAND, Ore. - Cigi will seek a third consecutive win at Portland Meadows on Friday, when he heads field of eight 3- and 4-year-olds in the six-furlong feature for $8,000 claimers.

Cigi, a 3-year-old son of Consigliere from the barn of trainer Debbie Van Horne, smoked maiden special weight rivals by three lengths in his local debut on Oct. 26, then came back Nov. 9 to lead throughout six furlongs in a crisp 1:12.62 while defeating $8,000 company by nearly two lengths. Kevin Murray, who was up for both of those wins, again has the mount at 121 pounds.

Ransome Road, who will be making his seasonal debut on Friday, figures as Cigi's most formidable foe. Ransome Road won last season's OTBA Stallion Stakes and placed in two other stakes at the meeting, but he has not raced since Feb. 9, when he faded to fifth after dueling for the lead against $12,500 claimers at Golden Gate. Ransome Road does his best running on the lead and is expected to challenge Cigi for the early advantage under Melissa Peery at 117 pounds.

Should Cigi and Ransome Road exhaust each other in a speed duel, He's a Doozie could be the main beneficiary. He's a Doozie, like Cigi, is coming off back-to-back wins at Portland Meadows, having defeated $8,000 maidens on Oct. 19 and $8,000 winners last time out on Nov. 9, when he got six furlongs in 1:13.76. Though that clocking was more than a second slower than the time Cigi ran two races later, He's a Doozie's fast-finishing style seems well suited to the likely pace scenario of Friday's feature. Trainer Cookie Root has named Ron Keckler to ride at 121 pounds.