07/28/2004 12:00AM

Columbus track report


COLUMBUS, Neb. - Last Friday's opening night crowd of 2,845 got the 25-day season off to a strong start with an on-track handle of $89,751. The number surpassed any of last year's single-day handles except for Labor Day.

Over the three-day weekend, 6,286 fans passed through the gates and wagered $197,100. The totals nearly matched last year's four-day opening weekend numbers of 6,710 fans and $199,887 in wagering.

Jockey Filmer Munaylla began the meet on a strong note, winning three races on Friday and Saturday's cards. Munaylla, whose book is now handled by Mickey Washburn, is out to an early 7-4 lead over Jerry Carkeek in the standings.

* Jerry Richards, a longtime friend of Nebraska racing, died last Sunday at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. He was 59. Richards served as a jockey agent for the past few seasons at Fonner Park and other Nebraska tracks. He is survived by daughter Robyn and son-in-law Bobby Dean of Iowa; son and daughter-in-law Rob and Tara Richards; and granddaughter Abby Catherine Richards of Omaha.