11/20/2003 12:00AM

'Americas' favored in Lassie


PORTLAND, Ore. - Americas Pride will head a field of nine 3-year-old fillies in Saturday's $10,000 Lassie Stakes at six furlongs.

The Lassie, the eighth of 10 live races, will share top billing with the $6,000-added Portland Meadows Fall Derby Finals for 3-year-old Quarter Horses going 440 yards, which will go as the nightcap with 11 contestants.

Americas Pride, a daughter of Baquero from the barn of Linda Northam, will try for the fifth win of her career. Americas Pride beat $16,000 maidens and $16,000 winners before she was claimed at Emerald Downs by current owners Al Adams, David Israel, and Jack Garrison. She won the six-furlong Knights Choice Stakes at Emerald in her first start for her new connections, then shipped here and scored an eight-length win in the Nov. 8 Janet Wineberg Stakes.

Americas Pride could be tested by several lightly raced but promising challengers in Saturday's field. Among the challengers is Pearl District, who is technically still a maiden after being disqualified from an apparent victory in her debut here Nov. 8.

Pearl District bumped repeatedly with Ogygian's Rose down the lane, then drew away late to score by more than a length in 1:08.60 for 5 1/2 furlongs. It's questionable whether Pearl District deserved to come down, and most observers had little doubt that she was best.

The Fall Derby will be headed by Fishers Easy Effort, who comes off a second to In Search of Fame, the top older Quarter Horse on the grounds, in an allowance race on Nov. 8.