01/08/2003 12:00AM

Tiffa figures to improve

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Tiffa looks like the one to beat in Friday's featured race at Portland Meadows, a one-mile allowance for fillies and mares that has drawn a field of six.

Tiffa, a 5-year-old daughter of Alybenbo trained by Mike Totland, won the mile Oregon Hers Stakes here as a 3-year-old but hasn't been able to find the winner's circle in eight subsequent starts.

She enters this off a close third-place finish against allowance company on Dec. 15 which was her first start since July. Tiffa should improve following the effort. She will be ridden by Karen Knapp and carry 119 pounds.

Tiffa figures to get her stiffest opposition from a trio of newly turned 4-year-olds. Of the three, only Stately's Choice has attempted the one-mile distance. The daughter of Stately Wager finished a distant third behind Nichole's Delight in the one-mile Oregon Hers Stakes on Dec. 14 following her maiden win at six furlongs a month earlier.

Be Still My Heart and Painted La Riva, the other 4-year-olds in the field, will try two turns for the first time following sharp sprint efforts. Be Still My Heart finished third against allowance company at 5 1/2 furlongs on Jan. 4, while Painted La Riva defeated maiden special weight company at 5 1/2 furlongs on Dec. 15.

Painted La Riva is somewhat of a racing oddity as one of only a handful of runners who is registered as both a Thoroughbred and a Paint. The daughter of Airdrie Apache and Lazy Ridge is easy to spot, as she sports large patches of white throughout her chestnut coat.

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