01/24/2003 12:00AM

Yesss, indeed, in Kyne


PORTLAND, Ore. - Defending champion Yesss has six challengers in Sunday's William Kyne Stakes at Portland Meadows, a nine-furlong race for older horses.

Yesss led throughout to score by three lengths over the formidable Chinquapin Charlie in last year's Kyne, which he won in a creditable 1:54. He is coming off a hard-luck third in the Dec. 14 Oregon Sprint Championship at six furlongs, a distance well short of his best, but registered an impressive eight-length triumph over allowance runners at a mile in his prior outing on Dec. 8.

Yesss, a 5-year-old son of Abstract who races for trainer Delmer Webb and the trainer's son Ben, will be ridden by

regular jockey Twyla Beckner at 120 pounds, the weight to be carried by all entrants 5 years old or older.

Fit to Bet, one of two 4-year-olds who will carry 119 pounds, may pose the most serious threat to the probable favorite. Fit to Bet won last season's Oregon Futurity at a mile and is coming off a 4 1/4-length tally over allowance foes at a mile on Jan. 3. A Cookie Root-trained son of Stately Wager, Fit to Bet gives every impression of wanting more ground and could find Sunday's 1 1/8-mile distance very much to his liking.

Thunder Zoot also rates as a threat off his extremely sharp form. Thunder Zoot, a 5-year-old trained by Nub Norton, has posted daylight wins over $5,000 and $6,250 claimers in his last two starts, both at route distances, and may be capable of making an impact in the Kyne with another step forward.

Sunday's nine-race card begins as usual at 1 p.m.

for Portland Meadows entries.

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