07/02/2007 12:00AM

Keller horses top stakes


Stakes doubleheaders don't happen often in Nebraska and splitting stakes into divisions is even more rare. But when 15 horses were entered in Wednesday's $17,500 State Fair Board Stakes that was the case, marking the first time in recent memory that a stakes race in Nebraska has been divided.

Trainer Thad Keller is a threat to sweep both mile and 70-yard divisions with Castles in the Sky and Thrill of Victory, who are the morning-line favorites in their respective divisions.

Castles in the Sky, a 4-year-old, should have the tougher task as he faces 3-year-old Heso, a dual stakes winner this year. Heso, trained by Kelly Von Hemel, was most impressive in taking the State Fair Breeders' Stakes here by 7 3/4 lengths on June 15 against his own age group. Both horses must contend with the 12-year-old High Dice, a three-time winner of this race.

In the second division, Thrill of Victory will be respected off his second-level allowance win at Canterbury Park on June 17. Although eligible for a nonwinners-of-three condition, Thrill of Victory should have a good pace to run at.

Booming Along and Bevys Dazzler should both have a say in the outcome of this race from near the front. Booming Along returns to stakes action from optional claiming company. Bevys Dazzler puts his perfect 5-for-5 mark over Lincoln's five-eighths-mile oval on the line and is coming off a win in the Big Red Mile on Memorial Day.