08/19/2011 12:42PM

Armata credits right-hand man for success at Fort Erie


FORT ERIE, Ontario – Ross Armata, based at Woodbine, continues to lead the trainer standings here at Fort Erie with the very able assistance of sub-trainer Ravendre “By” Raghunath.

The current standings have Armata with 16 wins, one ahead of Layne Giliforte and two in front of Martin Drexler.

“I give full credit to Raghunath.” said Armata. “He he has done an excellent job with the runners we have sent him and I never worry about the Fort’s side of the operation with By in charge.

“At the moment we have 12 runners stabled at the Fort and will continue to send others down the road as is necessary.”

Raghunath, for his part, is completely satisfied with the current arrangement.

“We are on the phone all the time,” said Raghunath, 38, “and we discuss the situation with each runner and then decide where and when we should run them.

“Ross is very easy to work with and he leaves the day-to-day training program in my hands. As his sub-trainer, I can set the schedule, enter, and do whatever is necessary.”

Armata is vocal on the need for the Fort Erie track to remain viable and provide an alternate venue.

“We need another track for the horses that cannot quite make it here at Woodbine,” he said.

“You can ask the other trainers based here at Woodbine and most will tell you exactly the same thing. They appreciate having the Fort’s operation nearby, otherwise it would mean shipping to the States, and that can be a hassle all on its own.”

Raghunath is in full agreement and notes that many Woodbine shippers arrive each race day in addition to those who have now settled in on a permanent basis with other assistant and sub-trainers at the border oval.

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Woodbine horsemen and it certainly helps to have a barn full of runners,” he said. “It also cheers up the Fort’s racing secretary and local race fans when decent sized fields go to post.”

Raghunath currently has eight of his own horses to add to Armata’s dozen and the 20 runners keep him busy from dawn to evening.

“We are a family operation,” he said. “My wife and my son also put in long hours at the barn as the goal is to have our horses well fed, well groomed, and in a relaxed frame of mind. That commitment takes special effort, but is worth it in the long run.”

Armata could not agree more.

“Some time back, I noticed that the horses coming from Raghunath’s barn had a look about them that suggested great care was being provided,” said Armata.

“Also of note was that his runners continually hit the board at a high rate. It was apparent that By had the needed talent and background to give my runners their best shot. I kept after him hoping that he would join us. Thankfully, he agreed and things are working out very well.”

Raghunath’s own record this season is a solid 19 percent in the win column with a record of 32-6-2-2. Last year, his 79 starts at the Fort resulted in 12 winners and more than 50 percent of his runners finished in the top three.

◗ Last Sunday, six of the nine races on the card were won by female jockeys. Betty Jo Williams (twice), Krista Carignan, Regina Sealock, Francine Villeneuve, and Melonie Pinto all won races.