09/09/2003 11:00PM

Force King looks sharp in claimer

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EDMONTON, Alberta - Two upper-level claiming races are the highlights of Friday's card at Northlands.

Force King, from Ernie Keller's stable, heads a field of six in the eighth race, for $22,000 claimers at 1 1/16 miles. Leanne Painter retains the mount on Force King, who is coming off a third-place finish in a three-way win photo at Friday's distance.

Force King, a California-bred, also has had a win and a second for $15,000 since returning to the races after a break following a winter campaign at Turf Paradise.

His chief rival is apt to be Sweet Beau, who won wire to wire by nearly five lengths in a recent allowance and has been in the top three in all of his six outings this year.

Glance Remark, Stage Door Jade and Big Creek are all dropping from $28,000 where they finished up the track to Candid Remark in their last outings.

Completing the field is Chain Reprisal, who is looking for his first win of the year. His best showing so far is a fourth in an optional claimer.

The seventh race is a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for $20,000 claiming 3-year-old fillies.

Stardust Special, ridden by top jockey Quincy Welch for co-owner and trainer Judy Cross, is in for a price for the first time this year. Last out she finished fourth in an optional claimer going a mile.

On the other hand, S.L. Gamine is stepping up in quest of her fifth win of the year. S.L. Gamine won for $7,000 and $10,000, and is coming off a third-place finish for $15,000.