04/16/2003 11:00PM

Opponents twice in one day

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CALGARY, Alberta - Sixthirtyjoe and Tyko Tycoon renew a heated rivalry in Saturday's $21,900 allowance feature over six furlongs at Stampede Park.

A few hours later, the results of another contest between the two runners will be announced at the annual Alberta awards banquet here.

Sixthirtyjoe and Tyko Tycoon faced each other eight times last year, with Sixthirtyjoe winning four of those races and Tyko Tycoon winning three. Sixthirtyjoe is an overwhelming favorite to capture divisional honors in the older horse category, but the champion sprinter title is up for grabs.

Alberta's four major sprints of 2002 were split between the two, as Sixthirtyjoe won the Stampede Park Sprint Championship here and the Journal (a race Tyko Tycoon missed) at Northlands Park. Tyko Tycoon captured the Sun Sprint and the Red Diamond Express in Edmonton, defeating Sixthirtyjoe both times.

Both runners have the credentials to be named top sprinter and a very close vote is expected on an evening when most of the other champions are expected to be unanimous selections.

In Saturday's feature, Sixthirtyjoe and Tyko Tycoon make their seasonal bows in the first major prep for the May 3 Stampede Park Sprint Championship.

Tyko Tycoon drew post 4, just inside Sixthirtyjoe, and may be favored off his strong spring work tab for trainer Red Smith.

A 6-year-old gelding, Tyko Tycoon won this prep in his 2002 debut, completing six furlongs in a rapid 1:10.60 with Sixthirtyjoe three lengths back in fourth. Their roles were reversed two weeks later in the Sprint Championship.

Rancour, Alberta's 2001 champion older horse, deserves a look at a price on Saturday, although he has earned most of his acclaim in longer races. Rancour was third, beaten a neck by Tyko Tycoon, in this prep last April, and was going best of all at the wire.