07/30/2001 11:00PM

Tycoon snubs Fred, Joey

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EDMONTON, Alberta - The $30,000 Klondike Handicap at Northlands Park Saturday was heralded as the return of Code Name Fred in a much-anticipated battle against Run Joey Run, who was coming off two straight stake wins.

But a muddy track contributed to the undoing of the favorites, who were unable to overcome a game Tyko Tycoon in the 1 1/16-mile affair.

Knowing that conditioning would be a question for Code Name Fred, who was coming back from a seven-week layoff, trainer Ron Grieves wanted to make sure that jockey Real Simard had him in his regular position stalking the leaders.

As expected, the Red Smith-trained Tyko Tycoon took the early lead under jockey Perry Winters with Simard on his shoulder through the first half-mile and Run Joey Run back seven lengths off the pace.

As the two leaders entered the stretch drive, it appeared the Code Name Fred was making his patented move to the outside. But Tyko Tycoon battled gamely and wouldn't be denied along the rail, prevailing by a neck over Code Name Fred with Run Joey Run another three-quarters of a length back in third.

Considered a sprinter, Tyko Tycoon was entered in the Klondike to act as a rabbit for stablemate Run Joey Run. After his effort last Saturday, Smith will now have to consider him for the $50,000 Sun Sprint here Aug. 6. The question will be whether the he can come back on just eight days rest, but if he is entered, he has to be considered a threat to the race's three-time defending champion Timely Ruckus.