04/13/2005 11:00PM

If she runs, Quartern hard to beat

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Quartern will be an overwhelming favorite against six challengers in Saturday's $7,000 Oregon Oaks at 1 1/16 miles. That is, if she runs.

Quartern, a 3-year-old daughter of Danjur, has won four of her five starts, all at this meeting, including a trio of stakes. She is coming off a six-length score in the one-mile Mary Goldblatt Stakes on March 5, clocked in 1:42.40.

After the Goldblatt, trainer Ben Root decided to point Quartern toward the $40,000 U.S. Bank Stakes, which will be run at six furlongs Sunday at Emerald Downs, and he went so far as to turn the filly out for two weeks to freshen her up for the sprint. Root had a last-minute change of heart, however, and entered his stable star in the Oaks, but still retains the option of scratching her to run at Emerald.

If Quartern is to be beaten, Easy Vote would appear the most likely upsetter. Easy Vote, trained by Sue Gilmour, shipped here from Bay Meadows in February and has since won both of her starts. She defeated $12,500 claimers by more than nine lengths at six furlongs on Feb. 27, then returned to score by 2 1/4 lengths in the one-mile Mt. St. Helens Stakes on March 26.

Also on Saturday's card, Big Al T will attempt to break a long-standing Portland Meadows record when he shoots for his ninth win from 11 starts at the meeting in the day's sixth race, for $5,000 claimers. Big Al T equaled Fair Charleen's mark of eight wins, set at the 1984-85 stand, last time out on April 10.