04/12/2005 11:00PM

'Spirit' to have company


CALGARY, Alberta - Spirit to Spare won four straight races at Northlands Park last year, going wire to wire each time. But the going gets tougher Friday at Stampede Park, when Spirit to Spare figures to get some pressure on the front end in the seventh race, an optional $40,000 claimer for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

Spirit to Spare handled her 3-year-old rivals with ease last year, catching several short fields as the lone speed. She faces older foes for the first time in Friday's $21,300 sprint.

Spirit to Spare breaks from post 3 with leading rider Quincy Welch up. She has prepped smartly for trainer Stu Simon, who always has his shed row primed early.

Gleichen Reserve figures to contest the pace and has the advantage of a four-furlong prep under her belt, a second-place finish April 2. Perry Winters rides her from post 6.

The beneficiary of a speed duel figures to be Rum Candi, who was stuck along the inside with no running room after breaking a step slowly from the rail April 2. Rum Candi, 6, was claimed for an Alberta record $40,000 out of that start by trainer Dale Greenwood on behalf of Dany Dion's Bear Stables Ltd.

* Stampede will offer telephone account wagering to the entire province, ending a longstanding agreement that previously left the northern half of the province to Northlands Park. The announcement came on the heels of a decision by Northlands Park to offer online wagering to clients in southern Alberta.