08/25/2009 11:00PM

Race for leading trainer extremely tight


Mark Lemburg is enjoying his time on top of the trainer standings this year after being shut out at last year's meet in Columbus. Lemburg has been neck and neck with Rick Bogdanovich, a newcomer to the training ranks this year, for much of the season.

Entering the final two weekends of racing, Lemburg has a 9-8 advantage over Bogdanovich in what is still a wide- open race for the title. Kim Veerhusen has six wins and another four trainers are tied with five wins each.

Lemburg's 4-year-old filly Navajo Territory has accounted for a good share of his success. She became the first horse to win three races at the meet with her victory over nonwinners of four claiming company last Thursday.

In the rider standings, the race is even tighter as Damon Leeds and apprentice Ashley Dill enter this weekend tied at 15 wins each. The jockey colony has spread the wins around with the top seven riders in standings separated by just four wins.

* With the track running just one Thursday evening card this year, mutuel handle should easily eclipse last year's totals in which the opening five weekends included Thursday racing.

Despite a mid-card cancellation this year, daily average handle ontrack is $61,587 through last Sunday, a 29 percent gain from last year's $47,616 through the comparable number of racing days. Average daily wagering from other outlets on the live product here is $35,199, a gain of 22 percent from the $29,899 of a year ago. The figures do not include a card lost after one race due to unsafe track conditions.

* The live racing season in Nebraska is quickly winding down. The meet here ends with a four-day run over Labor Day weekend as the Monday, Sept. 7 card will finish out the 23-day season. Post time on Saturday, Sept. 5 along with Sunday and Monday will be at 2 p.m.

* Horsemen's Atokad Downs then closes out the Thoroughbred season the following weekend in which an additional day will be run this year. Atokad will open with a Thursday afternoon card of four races on Sept. 10. Post time for both Thursday and Friday will be 5 p.m. Central with the Saturday and Sunday cards starting at 2 p.m.