07/22/2009 12:00AM

Nebraska racing shifts to Columbus


The live racing season in Nebraska reaches its final extended stop Friday night as Agricultural Park at Columbus opens for a 23-day meet that runs through Labor Day, Sept. 7.

Racing will be conducted on a Friday-Sunday basis this year, with a post time of 6:30 p.m. Central on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays and Labor Day. A Thursday evening card will be offered Aug. 20. The final stop on the state circuit, Horsemen's Atokad Downs, will conduct a four-day meet following Labor Day weekend.

David Anderson has won the previous seven Columbus training titles and looks to continue his dominance at Nebraska tracks. He has won both the Fonner Park and Lincoln titles this year. Looking to unseat Anderson will be Marv Johnson, Jim Compton, Dan Coughlin, Bill Isburg, and Merel Moore, all top trainers here last year.

On the riding side, defending champion Luis Ranilla starts out the season serving a three-day suspension handed to him at Lincoln. Chris Fackler also is sitting out the opening weekend under a three-day ban after winning the title at Lincoln.

Fridays will once again be Bet a Buck night, with $1 minimums on wagers and $1 hot dogs and beers. Friday night has long been a drawing card, with the track often marking attendance of more than 3,000.