09/17/2008 12:00AM

'Begonia' has lots on his side


EDMONTON, Alberta - Prospect Begonia has several factors in his favor going into Friday's feature at Northlands Park, a one-mile, optional $40,000 claiming race that drew a compact field of six older horses.

The 4-year-old Prospect Begonia is reunited with leading rider Quincy Welch, who has been aboard for each of his three victories on this circuit.

Prospect Begonia also comes into the race a fresh horse with just three starts this season and is one of only three entrants who have won at the distance.

In his last outing, with Real Simard up, Prospect Begonia was far back early in a crowded field of nine and closed well with a four-wide move to finish a clear second to odds-on choice Tejano Trouble.

Prospect Begonia is in line for a much better trip in this short field, with Welch likely to place him in a stalking position just off the probable pacesetter Dragooner, who is suspect at the distance.

Candid Remark and Shacane, who finished behind Prospect Begonia last time, both are wake-up prospects.

Welch, Smith still in front

Welch, with 68 victories, continues to maintain a comfortable cushion over Rickey Walcott (62) and Stephan Heiler (61) in a three-way battle for the riding title.

Red Smith, closing in on his eighth consecutive leading trainer title, has saddled 29 winners. Robertino Diodoro is second with 24 wins .