06/17/2010 12:00AM

Ikan formidable in bid for repeat

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Alabama-breds take center stage at River Downs, where seven horses will contest the $50,000 Magic City Classic at one mile.

Ikan is the 4-5 morning line favorite and deservedly so. In the 2009 running of this race, Ikan won by 18 1/2 lengths. Although winless since that event, the Randy Nunley-trained Ikan will be making the third start of his current form cycle and looks to be improving. In his last out May 19 at Delaware Park, the 5-year-old Ikan finished second, beaten 2 1/2 lengths going a mile and 70 yards over a wet fast track. Bill Hollick ships in from Delaware to ride.

The Alabama Maiden Stakes was also scheduled for Saturday but only five horses were nominated and two of those were cross-nominated and will run in the Magic City.

There has not been Thoroughbred racing in Alabama since 1991 although there is still simulcasting at the Birmingham Race Course in Birmingham. The money set aside for purses must be spent and so the Alabama Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association must hold races at other venues.