10/16/2004 12:00AM

Speed duel can set up the 'Ghost'


PORTLAND, Ore. - Marine Drive figures to be a solid favorite to collect an overdue win in Monday's top offering at Portland Meadows, a 5 1/2-furlong race for older $8,000 claimers that has attracted a field of six.

Marine Drive won four races and more than $24,000 last year, but he has yet to score in eight 2003 starts. Marine Drive, a 7-year-old who races for trainer Don Lawrence, is coming off a pair of sharp seconds against $8,000 and $10,000 company at Emerald Downs, however, and a repeat of either of those efforts would be hard to deny on Monday. Lawrence has named Jaime Martinez to ride Marine Drive, who will break from the outside post.

Lining up just inside of Marine Drive is Game Cadillac, who figures to challenge the favorite for the early advantage. Game Cadillac is also coming off a pair of seconds at Emerald, but his runner-up efforts came on the $4,000 and $3,200 claiming levels. Game Cadillac has an abundance of early speed, and he may be able to deny Marine Drive his preferred position on the lead. Trainer George Colello Jr. has named Kevin Murray to ride.

A speed duel between the two outside runners would likely play into the hands of Gold for Ghost, who normally comes from well off the pace. He has posted a pair of sharp five-furlong drills of late and appears to be ready for a representative effort.