07/30/2009 12:00AM

Apprentice Dill gaining momentum at Columbus

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The meet opened on a high note last Friday with both attendance and ontrack handle up from last year's opening weekend. On the track, apprentice Ashley Dill opened the crowd's eyes with a riding triple, including a $42.60 winner in the middle of the card.

Dill, a 19-year-old native of Collinsville, Ill., began her riding career last summer at Yellowstone Downs in Wyoming. She scored a pair of wins there, then took time off before starting back up this spring at Fonner Park. She had a pair of wins at the recent Horsemen's Park meet in Omaha and is off to a strong start here with 4 wins from 25 mounts.

Her first win of the meet came on Super Scene in last Friday's sixth race and completed a $1,098 pick three, with a crowd of 3,264 looking on. She finished off the night by riding the late daily double, with wins aboard Energetic Love ($16.80) in the ninth and Chickorita ($8.80) in the finale. The late double returned a cool $101 on a $2 ticket.

The following night, Dill scored her first career stakes win aboard Dazzling Izzy ($16.80) in the Inaugural Stakes. The four wins puts her second in the early standings here.

Last year's leading rider here, Luis Ranilla, returns to action this week after he and Chris Fackler both served three-day suspensions opening weekend. Fackler was the leading rider at State Fair Park this summer and also shared the title with Jesus Ponce at Fonner Park.