02/24/2006 12:00AM

Tom Two will have to be caught


PORTLAND, Ore. - Tom Two figures to go off as a solid favorite at Portland Meadows on Sunday when he takes on six other 3-year-olds in the $7,500 Greek Native Invitational Handicap at a mile.

Tom Two, a front-running son of Free at Last who races for trainer Delmer Webb, swept the first three stakes for his division at this meeting, including the Oregon Futurity at a mile on Dec. 31. Returning in the six-furlong Flying Lark Stakes on Feb. 4, Tom Two was outdueled by the undefeated Ballou Slew and had to settle for second at odds of 2-5.

It should also be noted that Tom Two raced without blinkers for the first time in the Flying Lark. Webb has opted to put them back on for the Greek Native.

Tom Two figures to get his sternest challenge from the good filly Lawanda, who won the one-mile Mount St. Helens Stakes against her own sex by a resounding nine lengths on Jan. 7. Lawanda, a daughter of Pioneering trained by Jonathan Nance, was upset by Royal Snowflight in the six-furlong Ms. Stakes on Feb. 11, when she dropped a head decision at 1-5. Nance feels she is a better filly around two turns, however, and she will have an opportunity to prove it on Sunday.

Also a threat is the lightly raced Dr. Daniel, a son of Desert Wine from the barn of trainer Mark Jones. Dr. Daniel ran second to Ballou Slew in his Jan. 21 debut, then came back to post an authoritative win over maiden special weight company on Feb. 5.