12/18/2004 12:00AM

'Sonny' tries to build on strong effort

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Sensational-sonny, who is coming off a surprising third in the Oregon Sprint Starter Handicap here on Oregon Championship Day, will head a field of seven in Monday's one-mile feature for older $6,250 claimers.

Trained by Robbie Baze, Sensationalsonny was sent off at 8-1 in the Oregon Sprint Starter Handicap, which was for horses who had started for a $5,000 tag, but he finished strongly for third, beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Dusty Slew in 1:12.60. In his previous start, Sensationalsonny beat $3,200 rivals at 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 4.

Sensationalsonny was ridden by Melissa Peery in both of those races, but Peery has elected to ride Tissington on Monday. Tissington, a 10-year-old with 14 career victories, came off a freshening to defeat $4,000 company at a mile here Nov. 29. A noted stretch-runner, Tissington came from 16 lengths back to win his comeback, and his chances Monday figure to be greatly influenced by the pace.

While there is little proven speed in the feature, Icy Victory may show the way after running in a string of sprint races. Icy Victory scored a three-quarter-length victory over $5,000 claimers at six furlongs here Oct. 30, then was unplaced at the $8,000 level Dec. 4. Icy Victory will be coupled in the wagering with I Wood Be a Winner, who does his best running from off the pace.

Also a threat is Mt. Vista, who was fourth in the one-mile Thanksgiving Handicap.