11/29/2001 12:00AM

Provo faces sharp competition

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Provo will attempt to improve his remarkable record of 7 wins from

10 starts on Friday when he takes on five other 3-year-olds in the six-furlong allowance feature at Portland Meadows.

Provo, an obscurely bred son of Pro Chapeau who sold for only $900 as a yearling, won 5 of 6 outings here last season, including three stakes.

Trained by Roger Stevenson, Provo picked up where he left off in his first start at this meet, posting a length score over allowance foes on Nov. 10, when he got five furlongs in a nifty 1:00.20. He fits snugly under the conditions of Friday's headliner, which is restricted to 3-year-olds who have not won twice since May.

Provo's challengers include Ringside Rhythm and Viva Lavilla, both of whom are coming off sharp wins. Ringside Rhythm was a 13-length winner over $4,000 runners at a mile on Nov. 23. Viva Lavilla downed allowance rivals by 2 1/2 lengths after 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:07.60 on Nov. 4.

Jak's Makin Music is also a winner at the meeting. He defeated allowance company at five furlongs on opening day, Oct. 27. Jak's Makin Music returned to finish fifth to another Stevenson-trained runner, Murdock, in a six-furlong allowance on Nov. 18 and would need to improve sharply to contend.

Justslewme may prove to be the most potent threat to the favorite in his first start at the meet. Trained by Harold Jones, Justslewme won three of his last four starts here last spring, including a victory over older allowance foes at a mile on April 20.