09/30/2003 11:00PM

Smith nears another training title

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EDMONTON, Alberta - With the 2003 Thoroughbred season in Alberta winding down, trainer Ron K. "Red" Smith will once again end the season as the leading trainer on the circuit.

That should come as no surprise, considering he has been at or near the top of the leader board for nearly two decades.

What is different this year is the way Smith has gone about it.

In previous seasons, Smith has been blessed with the best talent in Alberta thanks to his reputation for creating winners such as Fancy As and Run Joey Run, who have been catalysts for successful campaigns. This year, Smith has just two stakes victories.

Smith admitted early in the year that he didn't feel he had the horsepower to lead the way. But as the season entered its final four weeks, Smith again leads all trainers at this meeting with 35 wins and $465,203 in earnings.

He also topped the Stampede Park standings, with 25 wins and earnings of $342,405.

When the season began, some believed this would be the year they could catch and overtake Smith, but it just hasn't happened.

"I'm like the other 100 guys around here. It would be nice to be the leading trainer, but we're all still chasing Red," said Ron Grieves, who has fashioned a successful season of his own and is fourth in the standings here with 18 wins after winning 23 races in Calgary.