09/08/2004 11:00PM

Westerner winner returns

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EDMONTON, Alberta - Vancouver invader Illusive Force, looking to repeat his triumph in the 1 5/16-mile Westerner here Aug. 22, heads a field of 11 in Saturday's 59th running of the $100,000 Speed to Spare.

The past two winners of the 1 3/8-mile Speed to Spare, Bubblegum Kid and Regal Ability, are back in search of a second victory.

Illusive Force has post 7, and Regal Ability leaves from post 3, which should be advantageous for his front-running style. The rail could be wasted on Bubblegum Kid, who is accustomed to running from well back.

Regal Ability has won a pair of allowances this year and was third to Illusive Force in the Westerner. Bubblegum Kid has not hit the board since winning the 1 1/16-mile Herald Gold Plate in June.

After the Run, claimed by Dany Dion for $20,000 at Bay Meadows in May, was second in the Westerner, beaten three-quarters of a length.

They Call Me Cody was Alberta's champion older horse last year but is winless this year.

Alberta's 2001 horse of the year, Fancy As, will take another step along the comeback trail under Richard Hamel. Fancy As has not shown much since finishing third in the Free Press in Winnipeg in the spring.

Fancy As will be uncoupled from his stablemate Nugrayontheblock, who finished second in the Klondike after an allowance win.

Others in the field are Candid Remark, Beau Brass, Glance Remark, and Rokeby's Nugget.