05/24/2007 12:00AM

Earlier start leads to full barn area

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Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colo., has made some key changes to its racing program for its 36-date mixed meet for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses that opens on Saturday. The season will run through Aug. 12.

Arapahoe has moved 10 of its 36 stakes races to Mondays, and is beginning its meet a few weeks earlier than usual. The new start date has resulted in a full barn area.

"I cannot remember when we have had so many horses on the grounds this early in the meet," said Bill Powers, director of racing and racing secretary for Arapahoe. "Our fans will see some new names in the program this year, as we have some new outfits joining us from Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico."

Trainer Jon Arnett, who runs a high-percentage stable in New Mexico, has starters in six of the nine races on the opening Saturday card at Arapahoe. Other points of interest on the opening card include an appearance by stakes winner Proper Prado, who makes his Arapahoe debut in the third race, a one-mile claimer, for trainer Tyrone Gleason.

The stakes program at Arapahoe begins Sunday, with the $15,000 Dash for Speed for Quarter Horses. The meet will have 21 Thoroughbred stakes.

Arapahoe has also moved first post on Mondays back an hour to 2 p.m. Mountain.

* Arapahoe is having a benefit Saturday for families affected by a tornado in Holly, Colo., on April 4. Racing memorabilia will be auctioned ontrack, including signed items from Pat Day, Gary Stevens, and Mike Smith.