07/07/2002 11:00PM

Sixthirtyjoe wins big showdown


EDMONTON, Alberta - The top two Thoroughbreds in Alberta squared off at Northlands Park last Saturday in the $40,000 Spangled Jimmy. And when the dust cleared, Sixthirtyjoe had defeated Rancour and asserted himself as the leading candidate for Horse of the Year honors in the province.

Joey, as he is known, came into the race with three stake wins on the year and added another with his outstanding performance, going three-wide through the finalturn before overtaking longshot Highland Leader down the lane.

The 6 1/2-furlong distance was ideal for Sixthirtyjoe, an Alberta-bred who went into the gate as the second favorite behind Rancour.

But after the race, Sixthirtyjoe's jockey, Real Simard, said he was slightly surprised at the victory.

"I thought I might be second behind Highland Leader because at the head of the lane I didn't know how much horse I had. It didn't feel like I had much," he said. "Thankfully he kicked in good and ran big down the lane."

The win left owner Deanne Davies with a difficult decision on where to point Sixthirtyjoe. The next stakes here for older horses is the $40,000 Klondike July 27, but Davies will likely allow him to rest until the $50,000 Sun Sprint Aug. 5.

While Sixthirtyjoe appears to be developing into a sprint specialist, Simard says that his ability to go longer distances shouldn't be overlooked. "Last year he ran a mile and a sixteenth and finished second to Fancy As by a head so he can go further," said Simard.

* Northlands officials said late last week that the renovations on the main floor are on schedule to be completed by Aug. 1.