08/13/2002 11:00PM

Rancour eyes second Westerner


EDMONTON, Alberta - Rancour was a shocking winner of the Westerner here last August, upsetting the likes of Run Joey Run, Code Name Fred, and Scotman.

This year, Rancour has been something of a disappointment, with one win in five starts. In three of those races he finished behind Sixthirtyjoe. With Sixthirtyjoe not running in Friday's $40,000 Westerner, Rancour will try to get back on track in the race that first brought him to the public's attention.

Rancour, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old gelding, had just $10,000 in career earnings before winning last year's Westerner. Sent off at 19-1, he crushed his opponents by 7 1/2 lengths in what was considered one of the biggest upsets of the year here.

Three weeks later, Rancour won the $100,000 Speed to Spare, and he finished the year with earnings of $127,305 for his owner, Richmond Stable.

Entering the 2002 campaign, Rancour was considered by many to be the top horse in the province, and he looked good in May after finishing second to Sixthirtyjoe in the $40,000 Teeworth Plate at Stampede Park.

Rancour won the $50,000 Herald Gold at Stampede in his next start, and he arrived in Edmonton as the leading candidate for 2002 Alberta horse of the year honors. But in two starts here this summer, Rancour finished third and second in stakes won by Sixthirtyjoe.

Trained by Ernie Keller, Rancour should be more suited to the 1 5/16-mile distance of the Westerner than he was to the mile and 1 1/16-mile races he has been running in.

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