02/26/2004 12:00AM

Rebel Roots should love extra furlong

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PORTLAND, Ore. - Rebel Roots heads a highly competitive field of seven older sprinters in Saturday's Portland Meadows feature, a six-furlong allowance for horses who have never won three races.

Rebel Roots merits top billing off his consistency and sharp current form. Rebel Roots, a 4-year-old son of Dr. Root from the barn of trainer Sue Gilmour, has never been worse than third in six career starts. He is coming off a daylight win over maiden special weight company on Jan. 16 and a narrow loss to allowance rivals on Feb. 14. In that outing, Rebel Roots closed smartly under Luis Morgan to fall just a half-length shy of catching Les Crime after five furlongs in 59.96 seconds. Morgan returns to ride at 120 pounds, and Rebel Roots should prove difficult to deny with an additional furlong.

Prince of Clover also figures to attract an avid following after finishing third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Rebel Roots, on Feb. 14. Prince of Clover, a 5-year-old trained by Ben Root, was making just the second start of his career and his first start of the year in that race, and presumably has room for further improvement.

Also dangerous is Thimble, another lightly raced runner who is coming off a front-running victory over $8,000 maiden company on Feb. 6. In his only prior start, Thimble, a 5-year-old son of Niner Bush, was beaten a nose while debuting at the maiden $6,250 level.

Saturday's headliner will mark the return of My Friend Dave, who has not raced since last March, when he was beaten two lengths while finishing fourth to the talented I Won't Apollogize in a six-furlong allowance.