07/21/2003 11:00PM

Inaugural gets meeting rolling


COLUMBUS, Neb. - The Columbus Races at Agricultural Park get underway Thursday night with a 26-day meet that closes out live racing in the state for the year.

The meet runs through Sept. 14, with a basic schedule of racing on Friday through Sunday. Thursday's highlight is the $7,000-added Inaugural Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs.

Bevys Affair, trained by Sean Foley, should be a strong factor in the Inaugural following her runner-up finish in the Fantango Lady Stakes at Horsemen's Park two weeks ago. Before that she captured the Breeders' Special at Lincoln's State Fair Park by 4 3/4 lengths. Dan Beck has the ride from post 5.

Missy Can Do, from the barn of Joe Thomas, comes into this race off a 20-length win in the six-furlong Eureka Derby in Kansas on June 1. She has three victories this year and should show plenty of early speed. Jerry Carkeek rides from post 4.

There also will be drawings held throughout Thursday evening, with prizes including a microwave, stays at local hotels, a gas grill, and a pair of University of Nebraska football tickets. There will be $1 beers and hot dogs opening night, as well as every Friday throughout the season.

The track's 800-stall barn area is filled to capacity, with about 20 ship-in stalls available.

At a glance: Columbus

* RACING SCHEDULE: 26 days; July 24 through September 14; Racing Friday, Saturday & Sunday plus Thursday, July 24, and Monday, September 1.

* POST TIME: 6:30 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays and holidays.

* ADMISSIONS: General, $1.50; Box Seat $2; Clubhouse free with admission.

* PARKING: Free.

* LOCATION: 822 15th Street (15th Street & 10th Avenue)Columbus, Nebraska.

* SIMULCASTING: Thursday through Sunday.

* PHONE: (402) 564-0133

* INTERNET: www.agpark.com