10/16/2002 12:00AM

Walcott toe to toe with Welch

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EDMONTON, Alberta - Although the final few weeks of the season offer little in the way of stakes at Northlands Park, October has been an interesting month. Jockeys Quincy Welch and Rickey Walcott have gone toe to toe in the battle for top honors at the meeting.

Heading into the final weekend at Northlands, the two are separated by just one victory, with Welch in the lead.

Welch won the title at the spring meet in Calgary by 10 wins. He is currently in position to take home top honors in Alberta again this year, duplicating the feat he accomplished in 2001.

Welch, a 23-year-old native of Barbados, is in his sixth season in Alberta and the general consensus is that he has become one of the top riders in western Canada.

As for the 20-year-old Walcott, he should break the 500-start mark, as he enters the weekend with 483 wins and is scheduled to ride in 19 of the 21 races over the two cards.

Raylene a top juvenile filly

Northlands ran its final stakes races last weekend and there were no surprises.

On Saturday, Raylene easily handled the field in the $40,000 Freedom of the City for 2-year-old fillies. Raylene, a certainty to be named 2-year-old filly of the year in Alberta, started from post 8 and stalked through the first six furlongs before making her move through the final turn.

At the top of the lane, Raylene had a two-length lead and went on to win by nearly four lengths.

- On Thanksgiving Monday, Taiaslew also put an exclamation mark on his season when he wired the field in the $75,000 Canadian Juvenile.

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