05/08/2002 11:00PM

Thistledown: Mike is back


NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Down Thepike Mike is highweighted at 121 pounds at Thistledown on Saturday afternoon, when he will match strides at six furlongs with seven other Ohio-breds in the $40,000 Quick Step Handicap.

Down Thepike Mike, a rapid 8-year-old gelding, has been the top Ohio-bred sprinter throughout his career, fashioning a 18-5-4 record from 32 starts for earnings of $383,901.

In his lone appearance this year he was third in the six-furlong E. Babst Memorial at Beulah Park on March 6 after an 11-month respite.

In 2001, Down Thepike Mike made just two starts, both in stakes and both winning efforts. If he is at his best, Down Thepike Mike, will be very hard to handle. Julio Felix will ride for trainer Michael W. Nance and owners M.Y. Stables Inc.

Count on My Word has made only two career starts but was most impressive inning the six-furlong Rollin on Over stakes on April 13 in a rapid 1:09.78.

Count on My Word won his maiden race at first asking last year, also at Beulah Park. He will carry 112 pounds, and Dana Whitney will come to Thistledown to ride for trainer Joseph Martin.

Ifineedyaillcallya, a stakes winning 6-year-old Al Sabin gelding, has been very competitive at this level. He is at his best over a middle distance but can also sprint. If a quick early pace develops, it would enhance Ifineedyaillcallya's late-running style. He is owned by Sandra Weiler, carries 113 pounds, and Luis Gonzalez will ride for trainer Alan Sobol.