06/16/2004 11:00PM

Lincoln: Irish Flyer defends title


LINCOLN, Neb. - Irish Flyer will defend her title in the $15,000-added Matchmaker Handicap when she takes on six others, including an entry, in the one-mile test for older Nebraska-bred fillies and mares.

Last year Irish Flyer was a romping 8 1/4-length winner of the Matchmaker, but she will be heavily tested in this spot. She comes into the race off a mild-closing second to Missy Can Do in the six-furlong Bluegrass Handicap, after getting off to a slow start. R.D. Williams will ride from post 7, as Irish Flyer looks to increase on her mark of 11-5-5 from 32 starts and earnings of more than $105,000. Terrell Hemmer trains Irish Flyer for owner Dale Kurtz.

Magic Trump enters the Matchmaker off a third in $15,000 claiming company, going a mile and 70 yards here on June 5. She took the lead at the head of the stretch but was caught in the final sixteenth. Dan Beck rides from post 3.

Brian Roberts will send out the formidable sister act of Flaming Night and Bright Flame as a coupled entry for owner Niels McDermott. Flaming Night, a 5-year-old, won the Orphan Kist Handicap at Fonner Park in her first start of the season and had been a consistent performer until facing males in her last out, the Big Red Mile Handicap, when she tired to finish last. Bright Flame, a 4-year-old full sister to Flaming Night, has a sprint win against $10,000 claimers this year.

Dennis Collins rides Flaming Night from post 1, while Bright Flame has Alex Granda aboard from post 4.