01/15/2005 12:00AM

Nova Ice gives route second try

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Nova Ice will head a competitive field of nine in Monday's best race at Portland Meadows, a one-mile test for older $6,250 claimers.

A 4-year-old trained by Nick Lowe, Nova Ice is coming off a sharp win over $6,250 company on Jan. 3, when he came from just off the pace under rider Jose Rivera Jr. to score by a neck in 1:13.67 for six furlongs. In his only previous route attempt, Nova Ice ran sixth of 12 in last season's Preview Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. Though he is unproven around two turns, Nova Ice is going with good form and clearly fits at the $6,250 level.

Nova Ice might get his stiffest opposition from Future Gold, who finished fast to run third, beaten three-parts of a length, in the Jan. 3 race won by Nova Ice. In his previous race, Future Gold came from well back to beat $5,000 company after six furlongs in 1:14.30. Future Gold, a 4-year-old trained by Ann Peery, is untried around two turns, but he has finished strongly in most of his races and should appreciate more ground.

Runningwithscissors might be the most reliable entrant at the distance, since he has won two of his three attempts at a mile. Trained by Amando Rodriguez, Runningwithscissors beat $6,250 maidens at a mile in his maiden win, then came back to beat $6,250 winners at the same distance. He comes off a distant third-place finish in a Dec. 26 allowance.

Lean On Pete is also proven at the distance, having led throughout in a mile race against $3,200 rivals on Dec. 27.

Monday's nine-race card will begin at 1:05 p.m.