08/10/2005 12:00AM

Columbus track report

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Apprentice Channing Hill has been a frequent visitor to the races at Columbus the past couple of weekends as he recuperates from a sore back and prepares to resume his promising career in New York. Hill said he planned on returning for the last couple of weekends of the Saratoga meet, which concludes Sept. 5.

Hill took his first official rides at Columbus in late summer of 2003 then returned to Columbus High School for the winter. He took on full-time riding in the summer of 2004 at Prairie Meadows, graduated from high school in mid-term, and began riding full-time on the New York circuit this past January. He is one of the top apprentices in the nation and is in position to be nominated for an Eclipse Award for top apprentice rider.

* Racing settles into its regular schedule of Friday through Sunday for the remainder of the season at Columbus following a streak of four-day racing weekends.

Last Thursday's program had the the lowest attendance and handle on a program since the track was up against a Nebraska Cornhuskers football game last Sept. 4. Thursday's crowd was reported at 1,226 with ontrack handle of $31,848. The $73,133 total handle on Thursday's program was also a low mark of the season.

Despite the low turnout for Thursdays, the track continues to enjoy strong Friday-night crowds. More than 3,400 fans were reported for last Friday's card, with long lines at the mutuel windows resulting in minutes added to post time before each race.

* R.D. Williams took command of the rider standings over the weekend, scoring a four-win night on Thursday and following up with six victories on the Saturday-night card. He holds a 21-11 advantage in the rider standings, with Dennis Collins and Yuri Yaranga tied for second. Collins posted riding triples on both Friday and Sunday

Kim Veerhusen saddled three winners on Saturday night and is part of a three-way tie in the trainer standings. Ray Tracy sent out a least one winner each day last week to join Veerhusen and David Anderson at the top of the standings with five wins each.