05/11/2008 11:00PM

Maria's Touch looks tough


CALGARY, Alberta - Wednesday's card is headed by a pair of sprints for $30,000 claimers.

Maria's Touch, claimed out of a win for $22,000, heads the first half, race 4 on card.

The second half, race 7, came up a bit tougher with Bling, Catalone, Churchbridge, Powerful Summer, and the dropper Mr Don all in with good shots at the top prize.

Welch and Simon a winning team

It was fitting that jockey Quincy Welch completed a hat trick on Friday aboard Steady Pace for trainer Stu Simon.

The win aboard Steady Pace was the 49th of the meeting for Welch, the runaway leader in the rider standings, and the 19th for Simon, who is enjoying a career-best meet atop the trainer standings.

The trainer-rider stats are even more impressive: As a combination, Welsch and Simon are winning at a 50 percent clip - 17 wins in 34 starts.

Welch began serving a three-day suspension the following afternoon for his ride aboard Star Prospector in the President's a week earlier.

Meanwhile, jockey Rickey Walcott posted a hat trick on Saturday and a double on Sunday to bring his win total to 29 and sits a solid second in the standings.

Recently arrived apprentice Jonathan Grant won his fourth race Sunday.

Grant has impressed onlookers in his first week in Alberta, is tacking light at under 100 pounds, and should pick up more business.