08/07/2001 11:00PM

'Neechitoo' one to beat


EDMONTON, Alberta - Another small field will go to post for a stakes race at Northlands Park Friday, as the $30,000 Mademoiselle has only four horses, and betting will be limited to win and exactor.

The morning-line favorite, Northern Neechitoo, looks to rebound after a rough trip in her last race, the John Patrick Memorial Handicap here July 21. Northern Neechitoo finished fifth, 5 1/4 lengths behind Crimson Hue, after breaking in the air and hitting the starting gate.

With a better start this time, Northern Neechitoo and jockey Stephan Heiler should be stalking Crimson Hue, who figures to set the pace. Based on his past performances, Crimson Hue needs to be on the lead heading into the stretch to have any chance of winning, and Heiler will try to keep Northern Neechitoo close.

Before her loss in the Patrick, the Northern Neechitoo had won three consecutive races.

Sixthirtyjoe fails to get distance

The Canadian Derby hopes of Sixthirtyjoe were dashed on Saturday when he was soundly beaten by Kid Copper in the $35,000 Count Lathum.

Although there was some question about his ability to handle the 1 5/16-mile distance because of his small stature, Sixthirtyjoe was sent off the 3-5 favorite. He tired heading into the stretch and finished last in the six-horse field.

Solid showings by Kid Copper and runner-up Bubblegum Kid should send both to the 1 3/8-mile Canadian Derby here Aug. 25.

On Monday, Timely Ruckus virtually locked up Alberta sprinter of the year for an unprecedented fourth straight year when he defeated Run Joey Run in the $50,000 Sun Sprint.

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