04/21/2002 11:00PM

'Tycoon' may start in Sprint

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CALGARY, Alberta - The complexion of the May 4 Stampede Park Sprint Championship has changed following Tyko Tycoon's nose victory here in last Saturday's major prep for the $40,000 Sprint Championship, the first stakes of the meet.

Tyko Tycoon prevailed over 19-1 longshot They Call Me Cody, with the late-running Rancour a head back. Sixthirtyjoe, taken well back after breaking sharply, closed well for fourth, three lengths back of Rancour and a nose in front of the heavily favored Timely Ruckus.

The victory, in 1:10.60 over a fast surface, thrusts Tyko Tycoon to the forefront for the Sprint Championship. The defeat of Timely Ruckus, winner of three of the past five Sprint Championship renewals, undoubtedly encouraged rival camps. Red Smith, who saddled Tyko Tycoon, will nominate him to the Sprint Championship and has another possibility in Three Johns.

They Call Me Cody, who closed resolutely under Ricky Walcott, also will be among the nominees. A 4-year-old gelding in his first try against older company, They Call Me Cody rallied from third place and benefited from the rapid fractions set by Tyko Tycoon.

Tyko Tycoon, who engaged Timely Ruckus through the first turn, cleared after a swift 22.20-second quarter-mile and was a 1 1/2 lengths in front after posting a 45.20-second half-mile. The fractions took their toll in deep stretch, but Tyko Tycoon held on

Rancour was going best of all at the wire, and his performance may alter trainer Ernie Keller's plans for the Sprint, as he may enter both Rancour and Timely Ruckus.

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