07/25/2004 12:00AM

Former claimer Akanti a stakes winner


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Akanti, just two races removed from a start for a $12,500 claiming tag, kicked strongly clear through the lane to capture Sunday's Blue Skies Handicap under leading rider Lonnie Meche. Crowned King, a slight favorite over Akanti in the wagering, turned in a late run to complete the exacta with Guaranteed Sweep finishing third. Highweight Rare Cure failed to fire as he did in capturing the recent Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes at Lone Star and reported home a disappointing eighth.

Trained by Al Stall, Jr. for James Stone, Akanti ($6.60) made in three-for-three over the local oval as he also accounted for an optional claiming victory between his claiming win and his latest stakes score.

The altered 4-year-old son of Key of Luck's margin of victory was six and a half lengths and he covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:44.23 over a fast strip. The win was his sixth in 15 starts and he has now earned over $117,000.