08/27/2008 12:00AM

Stakes, football, $1 beer on closing weekend


Closing weekend festivities at Columbus begin with a 10-race card Friday night and will include stakes races on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, the conclusion of wide-open jockey and trainer races, and the start of the University of Nebraska football season.

With the Big Red kicking off the season against Western Michigan on Saturday evening in Lincoln, the Columbus Races will present the pay-per-view game in the clubhouse with free admission. There will also be $1 draft beer all four days of the final weekend.

On the track, Luis Ranilla has posted riding doubles the past five racing days and holds a 25-24 lead over Lee Sensenbach in the rider standings. Jesus Ponce, who has led most of the season, is third with 23 wins, and apprentice Chris Fackler has 20.

David Anderson saddled four winners last weekend and leads with 12 wins on the meet, ahead of Jim Compton and Merel Moore, who have nine apiece.

Nebraska-bred 2-year-olds will square off Saturday in the $12,500 Columbus Debutante and Columbus Futurity. Older fillies and mares are featured in the Bill Callihan Stakes on Sunday. The Labor Day Stakes will close out the meet Monday, with First Class Brass expected to defend his title in the 6 1/2-furlong race for older horses.

Thoroughbred racing in the state then winds down the season with a three-day meet at Horsemen's Atokad Downs in South Sioux City on Sept. 5-7.