10/24/2006 11:00PM

Meeting ends with slight gains

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EDMONTON, Alberta - The 2006 Northlands Park meeting showed a small uptick in all-sources handle on its live Thoroughbred races. The meet, which ended Sunday, handled $10,514,599, a 2.5 percent gain from 2005, when $10,257,863 was bet. There were 72 days of Thoroughbred racing in both 2005 and 2006.

Similarly, purses at the meet were up 5.1 percent, going from $8,599,392 in 2005 to $9,039,410 this year.

Although dates have not been confirmed for 2007, the number of race days is expected to drop to 61, allowing the Standardbred meet to begin earlier.

Meanwhile, jockeys Quincy Welch and Rickey Walcott battled to the end to determine the meet riding title. They went into the closing weekend tied in the standings, but on Friday night Welch took four of the eight races on the card while Walcott won none. Walcott, however, came back Saturday with four wins while Welch won none, setting up the Sunday afternoon battle for the title. Things remained up in the air until Walcott won the seventh race aboard Awesome Bear. When Welch was unable to respond with a win, Walcott took the title.

In the trainer standings, Red Smith retained his championship standing despite being having no winners closing weekend.

Smith finished with 28 wins, two more than both Stu Simon and Greg Tracy.