07/17/2003 11:00PM

Horsemen's Atokad: Closing day


SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. - Two starter allowances, each with a purse of $15,000, round out the final card of Horsemen's Atokad Downs's two-day meet.

Owned and operated by the Nebraska HBPA, Atokad is the sister track of the highly successful Horsemen's Park in Omaha and serves as a year-round simulcast center. While the market has never been as strong in the South Sioux City area as in Omaha, the track fills a void left when Atokad Park closed under financial difficulties after its 1997 season.

Atokad offered purses of nearly $80,000 per day on its two six-race cards.

Sunday's card opens with a field of 10 2-year-olds going four furlongs. Irish De Slew is the expected favorite.

The fifth race is for Nebraska-breds who have started for a claiming price of $5,000 or less in 2003 and will offer a purse of $15,000. Watch Me Dazzle drew in from the also-eligible list and will be gunning for his fifth win of the year. Watch Me Dazzle, the claimer of the year at Fonner Park, has Armando Martinez to ride.

The meet concludes with the Robert E. Lee Classic, named for the longtime president of the Nebraska HBPA who was a key factor in the creation of the two HBPA-owned tracks. The starter allowance at a mile and 70 yards offers a purse of $15,000 and is for horses who have started for a claiming price of $10,000 or less and have started at Fonner Park or State Fair Park in Lincoln in 2003.

Bet a Bargann, fresh off a $10,000 claiming win at Horsemen's Park last weekend, should rule a strong favorite under Jerry Carkeek.