04/26/2005 11:00PM

An easier spot for 'Northern'


CALGARY, Alberta - When nominations closed for Sunday's M.R Jenkins Memorial, Northern Neechitoo, a multiple stakes winner with earnings of $355,334, was noticeably absent from the list. Trainer Floyd Arthur chose instead to run her in Friday's featured seventh race at Stampede Park, a six-furlong optional claimer that attracted seven runners and has a $21,300 purse.

The race is split into two divisions, with the other division going as the fourth race.

An 8-year-old mare, Northern Neechitoo has 16 wins from just 39 starts. Last spring, she ran in all three stakes for older fillies and mares at this meeting, finishing third to A Shaky Start in a sprint and second on two occasions to Raylene in routes. She comes into Friday's race after finishing fourth in a four-furlong optional claimer here April 2.

Northern Neechitoo will have leading rider Quincy Welch aboard and is likely to contest the early pace from post 6. She should get a good trip, since the only foe likely to press her early is Gleichen Reserve, who drew post 5.

In the other division, Welch also has the mount on Classa Red Wine, who will head a field of five. Classa Red Wine will be looking to rebound from a seventh here in the April 16 Sales Stakes.

Friday's card concludes with a pair of Quarter Horse races at 220 yards. Heza Hot Hit, winner of the Stampede Park Classic last April, is back to defend his title in the $17,500 stakes, which is the ninth race on the 10-race program.