06/04/2003 12:00AM

King Me shoots for second win

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CALGARY, Alberta - King Me, who won seven races last year to become Alberta's champion claimer, seeks his second victory at this meet in Friday's optional claiming sprint which is the featured eighth race at Stampede Park.

King Me, an 8-year-old gelding, blossomed last spring after arriving in trainer Don Gilkyson's barn from his winter base at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. He moved steadily up the claiming ladder and ended the year with earnings of $69,397.

In his last outing, King Me was favored against similar company but lost all chance after breaking poorly. On Friday, he faces six rivals, with Desmond Bryan retaining the call.

King Me drew the rail and will probably get a stalking trip, with the presence of My Birthday Boy and Smooth Cruiser ensuring rapid early fractions.

Smooth Cruiser has been on or near the lead in all three of his starts at the meet, including in the Stampede Park Sprint Championship.

My Birthday Boy comes off a front-running win against cheaper company.

The seventh race, a nonwinners-of-two allowance, matches seven 3-year-olds going six furlongs.

Father Mike, trained by Dale Saunders, drew post 6 with Quincy Welch up and comes off a strong effort in a similar spot May 16.

Father Mike hooked up in a duel with Free Pour right from the gate and only yielded in deep stretch.

Father Mike adds Lasix for this outing, and a strong work, five furlongs in 1:01.80 on June 2, adds to his appeal.