09/16/2007 11:00PM

Thin card as finale draws near

EmailEDMONTON, Alberta - The meet is winding down, and Wednesday's abbreviated program of seven races reflects a horse population thinned by several factors.

Many of the "B" circuit runners, especially at the lower claiming prices, have opted to test the waters at Lethbridge, where the purse payouts allow the horses to retain their conditions for the "A" circuit. For example, Snowseasterpole, a winner of two races at the recently concluded "B" meeting at Grande Prairie, easily handled a field of maidens here Saturday.

The upcoming Fall Classic program, slated for the penultimate day of this 62-day stand on Sept.o29, has undoubtedly kept a few trainers away from the entry box as well. The program will have $400,000 up for grabs in seven stakes races for Alberta-breds.

Trainer race heats up

Robertino Diodoro posted a hat trick on Saturday to reach 27 wins for the meet and move within four of leader Red Smith in the trainer standings.

Rickey Walcott matched the feat on Sunday to end the day with 82 wins and an insurmountable lead in the jockey standings.

Diodoro and Walcott have combined for 13 wins from 32 starts over the course of the summer meet, moving into contention for yearly honors encompassing the Stampede and Northlands meets.

o The 2007 Alberta fall mixed sale begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Sportex here. A total of 85 horses are in the catalog, with over 40 on a supplemental list.