01/24/2008 12:00AM

Sprinters renew rivalry


Well-accomplished sprinters Banjo Picker and Power by Leigh will resume their rivalry in the $75,000 Le Grande Pos Handicap, the first stakes of the season at Philadelphia Park.

The 5 1/2-furlong race, restricted to Pennsylvania-breds, drew a field of six older sprinters.

Last season, Banjo Picker won 2 of the 3 times he faced Power by Leigh, including the most recent race for both horses, a $53,320 money allowance on Dec. 15.

The 8-year-old Banjo Picker, who has recorded 11 of his 13 lifetime victories at Philly Park, also decisively beat Power by Leigh in the six-furlong Power by Far Handicap in September.

Power by Leigh, who has been first or second in 10 of 19 starts locally, defeated Banjo Picker by two lengths when both were coming off layoffs in the six-furlong Lyman Sprint Handicap last May.

Perhaps significantly, Banjo Picker will have to carry 124 pounds in the Le Grande Pos and concede four pounds to Power by Leigh. The 5-year-old Power by Leigh had a five-pound weight advantage the only time he defeated Banjo Picker last year.

If either of the favorites fail to fire, the most likely beneficiary is Geefour, a 4-year-old who is still eligible for his first allowance condition. Geefour has not been worse than second in his last three starts and gets 13 pounds from Banjo Picker as the 111-pound lightweight in the field.