08/08/2002 11:00PM

Sixthirtyjoe will skip Westerner

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EDMONTON, Alberta--Rancour will resume defense of his title as the Alberta's champion older horse in Friday's $40,000 Westerner Handicap at Northlands Park, and his path will be made easier by the absence of multi-stakes winner Sixthirtyjoe.

Even though Sixthirtyjoe handily won the 1 1/16-mile Klondike, his owner-trainer-breeder Deanne Davies will avoid longer tests such as the 1 5/16-mile Westerner and the 1 3/8-mile Speed to Spare here Sept. 7.

There is a chance that Northlands fans will see Sixthirtyjoe in the 6 1/2-furlong Red Diamond Express on Alberta Classic Day Sept. 21, but Davies feels she owes it to the horse, winner of five stakes races, to test him elsewhere, probably in Ontario.

Rancour, who won the Herald Gold Plate in June at Stampede Park, is among nine nominees to the Westerner. But a one-mile allowance race for nonwinners-of-two other than maiden or claiming, which tops Sunday afternoon's card, threatens to rob the Westerner of several participants.

Four Westerner nominees - Highland Leader, Red Exit, Oolamah and Scotman - have opted for the allowance, leaving Hergesheimer, Bubblegum Kid, Miki Blue Eyes, Kid Copper, and Rancour for Friday's stakes.

This Saturday will feature the $50,000 Sales Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs, with divisions for 2-year-old fillies and for 2-year-old colts and geldings.

The twin events are open to graduates of the yearling sale a year earlier and are calculated to beat the drums for the 2002 sale at Northlands eight days later.