03/24/2004 12:00AM

Fonner Park track report


GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - The jockey colony gets a welcome boost this weekend with the addition of R.D. Williams and Kerry Kretzer and the return of Dan Beck following a spill last Sunday. Last Sunday the stewards had to scratch eight horses because of a shortage of riders.

Williams, a nine-time leading rider here, won his first title in 1977, then shifted his tack to Arkansas in the early 1990's. Kretzer will be familiar to local fans as the winning rider of last year's upset winner of the $100,000 Bosselman/Gus Fonner Handicap, Dusty Spike. Kretzer returned in the summer aboard Dusty Spike to capture the $100,000 Omaha Handicap at Horsemen's Park, as Dusty Spike became the first horse to sweep the state's two richest races in the same year.

Beck was unseated while galloping out after the fourth race last Sunday. His mount, Warriorprince, reportedly stumbled into the rail on the backstretch and sent Beck rolling along the track's safety rail. Complaining of shoulder pain, Beck was taken to the local hospital where X-rays revealed no breaks. He missed the remainder of Sunday's card, but returned to the track later that evening and was accepting mounts for this weekend.

* Jockey David Essman was absent last weekend with the illness of his mother-in-law, Rhoda Warhol, in Iowa. Essman's wife, jockey Vicki Warhol, was excused from her mounts because of her mother's condition.

* Curtis Kimes, second in the rider standings to Perry Compton, received an injunction to continue riding this weekend. Kimes was assessed a three-day suspension by the stewards for failure to maintain a straight course aboard Rough Neck in last Saturday's Baxter Stakes.

Rough Neck drifted in about an eighth of a mile into the 6 1/2-furlong race. As the horse veered in, Deja Bouti, directly to his inside, shied and bounced High Fleet, ridden by Jerry Carkeek, into the rail. High Fleet lost his action and was pulled up going through the first turn. Rough Neck finished second in the race but was not disqualified.