06/22/2004 12:00AM

Cypriata best in Penny Ridge


CALGARY, Alberta - The 46-day spring meeting at Stampede Park wound to a close last Sunday with rider Mike Iammarino and trainer Emile Corbel teaming up to score a rather easy win with Cypriata in the 8th running of the Penny Ridge. The $40,000 allowance stakes for 3-year-old fillies attracted just four entrants and Iammarino turned in a patient ride abaord the Kentucky-bred daughter of Seeking the Gold to win drawing off under a hand ride.

Iammarino, who campaigned at Assinboia Downs last summer, won three of the twelve stakes here this spring and intends to test the waters at Northlands Park this summer with some visits back to Winnipeg to ride for the strong Corbel shedrow based in the Manitoba capital.

A race later Quincy Welch closed out the spring stand with his 65th victory, guiding Star of Shaheen home in the finale with a trademark move from just off the pace. Welch set a new standard in both wins and earnings ($802,285) since Stampede Park reverted to a one-meet concept in 1997.

Trainer Red Smith defended his training title by saddling 29 winners and showed versatility by winning four stakes - each for a different group of owners and with four different riders abaord.

Although the total handle on live thoroughbred from all sources was $10,902,348 - up 2.64 per cent from 2003 - the daily average dropped to $237,008 - down 12.98 per cent from the 39-day meet the previous spring.

The ever increasing support of simulcast betting and the uncertain future of this venue with talks continuing to circulate of a new course in the Calgary area undoubtedly contributed to the decline in the daily average on the live product. The issue remains a concern for management, horsemen and fans alike.