04/05/2002 12:00AM

'Delta' and 'Harbour' lead pack

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CALGARY, Alberta - Delta Epsilon and Harbour Ice head a field of nine in the seventh race on Sunday's program.

The half-mile race carries a $12,000 purse and is restricted to 4-year-olds.

The co-favorites drop in for a $15,000 claiming price, perhaps surprising some who were looking for a soft spot to open their campaign.

Delta Epsilon drew the rail and will receive support following a

3-year-old campaign in which he was competitive against allowance and high-level claimers, including Fancy As and Sixthirtyjoe.

Richard Hamel has the mount on Delta Epsilon, whose best races came at this meet last spring. Trainer Ernie Goldbeck has three five-furlong works into his charge. Should the speed come back, Hamel will have an opportunity to unleash a winning stretch drive, something he did many times in 2001 on his way to the meet riding title.

Harbour Ice drops for trainer Pam McDougall after trying stakes company four times without success last season. McDougall claimed the gelding for $32,000 last July and he flashed early speed in several tries against the best 3-year-olds on the grounds.

A stakes winner at 2, Harbour Ice is the class of the race, and a return to form would place him in the winner's circle. Quincy Welch has the call and will break his mount from post 7.

The outside posts in half-mile sprints at this five-furlong oval are not necessarily a disadvantage, and many horsemen prefer to draw outside. They cite the tendency for horses on the rail to be shut down or squeezed when entering the main track from the four-furlong chute.