05/13/2008 11:00PM

Just Benson won't face his nemesis


CALGARY, Alberta - When a pair of allowance races and an open $22,000 claimer failed to fill, Friday's featured offering became a $13,000 claimer for older horses sprinting six furlongs.

A horse shortage in the better classes haunts many racetracks these days, and this Stampede Park meeting is no exception.

Trainer Garry Marks will send out Just Benson, a horse who has been haunted in another fashion by Ghost Pirate, who is not among his rivals in seventh-race feature.

Just Benson drew the rail in the short field of six and has a shot to break the curse that Ghost Pirate, who is the only three-time winner at the meet thus far, has cast upon him in their three previous encounters.

Rickey Walcott will be back aboard Just Benson, who should be on or near the lead in this group after chasing Ghost Pirate to no avail in three consecutive outings.

With three rivals making their seasonal debuts, the main obstacle in Just Benson's path is Bethune, who coincidentally is trained by leading trainer Stu Simon, who sent out Ghost Pirate to his three front-running tallies.

Just Benson and Bethune figure to be one-two in the wagering, and exactor players will be looking in that direction.

Bethune, winner of his last at this same level, has enough speed to challenge Just Benson for the lead.

Leading rider Quincy Welch, back after serving a three-day suspension, will break Bethune from post 3