06/18/2003 11:00PM

Sixthirtyjoe eyes first 2003 win


EDMONTON, Alberta - Sixthirtyjoe, Alberta's horse of the year in 2002, seeks his first victory of the year Saturday in the 48th running of the $40,000 Journal Handicap, the first stakes of the Northlands season.

Sixthirtyjoe, a 5-year-old trained by Deanne Davies, will be making his fifth start of the year when he take on six opponents at 6 1/2 furlongs. He will be ridden as usual by Real Simard, from post 5.

A homebred of extremely modest breeding, Sixthirtyjoe won five stakes a year ago, including the Stampede Park Sprint Championship, the Teeworth Plate, and the Journal. Sixthirtyjoe failed to defend his title in the Teeworth Plate last month, finishing second. He also ran third in the Stampede Sprint, and fifth in the Herald Gold Plate, his last start.

Sixthirtyjoe shares high weight of 120 pounds with the 2002 Alberta sprint champion Tyko Tycoon, who has the rail with Quincy Welch up. Tyko Tycoon opened his campaign with an allowance victory, going wire-to-wire at six furlongs. Tyko Tycoon was photoed out by Fancy As three weeks later in the Sprint Championship, then was a well-beaten fourth in the Teeworth.

Another former Alberta sprint champion, Timely Ruckus, makes his 2003 stakes debut Saturday at the age of 10. Trainer Ernie Keller admits Timely Ruckus has lost a step or two. Timely Ruckus has a new rider this year in David Wilson.

Timely Ruckus, who has had a second and a third in allowance company this spring, will pack 117 pounds, as will Fussy's Kid and King Jeremy.