04/03/2003 1:00AM

'French' looks tough on drop


PORTLAND, Ore. - French Season and Neil's Advice, the fifth and sixth finishers in last month's one-mile Preview Handicap, drop to the $8,000 claiming level to head a field of six 3-year-olds in Saturday's 5 1/2-furlong feature at Portland Meadows.

French Season figures to be a solid favorite, as he has twice won at 5 1/2 furlongs during this meeting, and he prepped for the Preview with a second in a six-furlong allowance race on March 9. He was beaten just a half-length by the then-undefeated I Won't Apollogize.

Neil's Advice is also a sprint winner at the meet. He won a maiden race at six furlongs in February. He has also won a mile race at the $8,000 claiming level on March 8.

The wild card may be Siggie, who will be making his local debut after showing good speed in five starts at Golden Gate, including a win over $10,500 rivals going six furlongs in January. Siggie, a Washington-bred son of Consigliere, will be saddled by Troy Taylor, who has scored with six of his 21 starters at this meeting.

Saturday's simulcast wagering menu will include the NTRA Spring Pick Three, which will combine three important Kentucky Derby preps in one multiple-race wager. The bet comprises the $250,000 Aventura Stakes from Gulfstream Park at 2:11 Pacific, the $500,000 Illinois Derby from Hawthorne at 2:25, and the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita at 2:45.

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