06/06/2001 11:00PM

Chippewa Downs in gear again

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The annual Chippewa Downs meeting begins this weekend in Belcourt, N.D., and more than $120,000 is up for grabs over the next three weekends, with racing scheduled for June 9-10, June 16-17 and June 23-24.

Last year's leading trainer, Kelly Fennell, will be returning, as will as last year's leading rider, Chad Warren. Fennell has 14 horses ready to roll, while Warren is coming off a big 2000 meeting in which he won 12 of the 54 races carded. An addition to the backstretch this year is trainer Ben Villegaf of Casper, Wyo., with 14 head of Quarter Horses.

Quarter Horse and paint horse races will be carded from 220 to 350 yards. Thoroughbred races will range in distance from three furlongs to one mile, with the majority being 5 to 5 1/2 furlongs.