09/21/2006 12:00AM

Welch has good shot at two stakes


EDMONTON, Alberta - The Alberta Breeders' and Fall Classic Distaff are the richest races on Saturday's Alberta Fall Classic Day, each with a purse of $75,000, but there is no shortage of interest in the five $50,000 stakes on the program.

Apilonia will be favored in the Sturgeon River off her win in the 2-year-old Filly Sales Stakes going 6 1/2 furlongs here Aug. 19. Owned by Donver Stable and trained by Greg Tracy, Apilonia was a handy 4 1/2-length winner there over Winnipeg-based Gypsophila, who is back to renew the rivalry and stretches out to mile in the Sturgeon River.

Quincy Welch has the return call aboard Apilonia in the Sturgeon River, which drew a field of seven 2-year-old fillies, and also rides the favored Howsitgoinghotshot in the one-mile Alberta Premier's Futurity.

Howsitgoinghotshot posted a 3 1/2-length victory over The Millionaire in the male division of the 2-year-old Sales Stakes on Aug. 19. Trained by Kelly Robinson, Howsitgoinghotshot drew post 4 in the field of seven for the Futurity, and Welch will likely employ another stalking trip behind The Millionaire and C R Jag.

The multiple stakes winner Teagues Fight will be a short-priced favorite in a field of seven 3-year-old colts and geldings in the 1 1/16-mile Beaufort, just as he was in his deceptively easy two-length tally over Wye Red in the 3-year-old Sales Stakes at a mile here Sept. 10. Trained by Doug MacDonald, Teagues Fight looks formidable in the Beaufort and breaks from the rail under Stephan Heiler.

Cool Bender is the 120-pound highweight in the field of eight sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs in the Red Diamond Express Handicap. A 6-year-old trained by Barry Brown, Cool Bender was a handy winner of the 6 1/2-furlong Sun Sprint here Aug. 7, but has just two moderate works since and may be a vulnerable favorite.

Sparhawk, winner of three of four sprints this campaign and carefully pointed to this race by veteran conditioner Floyd Arthur, could be poised to upset under Shannon Beauregard. Sparhawk has been assigned 117 pounds and drew post 3, while Cool Bender breaks from post 5 under Welch.

The final $50,000 stakes of the day may provide the most competitive race, as Tartan Star, Nashwaak Dancer, and She's Italian square off with five other 3-year-old fillies in the one-mile Alberta Oaks.

Tartan Star ran down a stubborn Nashwaak Dancer in the Filly Sales Stakes at the same distance here Sept. 8.