10/23/2002 12:00AM

Welch wins Another riding title


EDMONTON, Alberta - It took until the next-to-last race of the meeting to crown a jockey champion here at Northlands Park, but when Quincy Welch won aboard Secret Boundary last Sunday he clinched his fourth title in the past five seasons and further established himself as the premier jockey in Alberta.

Welch's closest competitor, Rickey Walcott, had put the pressure on by winning five races Friday night, but the veteran Welch wasn't to be denied.

The intriguing battle brought to a close the Northlands season. There was a small decrease in the live handle from last year but a significant increase in simulcast wagering over the 68-day meeting. Admission is free, and there were no attendance figures available.

Just over $11.6 million was bet on-site, a 2.4 percent decline from last year. But there were a number of extenuating circumstances, including construction in the grandstand, which is undergoing a major facelift, and some bizarre weather.

Northlands Park media coordinator Jonathan Huntington said he was pleased with the meet and expects business to pick up next year.

"We certainly look forward to an increase next year with the new facility and positive indications from this year." he said.

No official announcement has been made in regard to the Northlands license for next year, but it is likely that it will be renewed by Horse Racing Alberta.

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