11/03/2001 12:00AM

Bad spill can't keep Lauzon out for long


FORT ERIE, Ont. - Jockey Jack Lauzon was named aboard four runners Saturday and four on Sunday at Fort Erie. Lauzon, 39, who moved his tack here from Woodbine in June, had been sidelined since being injured in a spill Oct. 4 at Woodbine.

"I was riding Vice N Friendly when he broke a leg," said Lauzon. "I went down and two horses following ran me over. I was clipped and got bruised up pretty good. I had multiple contusions and muscles were torn."

More than the usual concern for an injured rider was exhibited that day.

Lauzon, who won the Queen's Plate in 1988 with Regal Intention and in 1994 with Basqueian, has had other serious injuries in his career. In 1996 while riding in Macau, near Hong Kong, Lauzon suffered three fractures in his neck and was paralyzed from the chest down for a lengthy period. But three years later he returned triumphantly to the saddle and resumed his $1 million-plus purse earnings a year.

Lauzon joined the Fort Erie colony when mounts were slow in coming this spring at Woodbine. And he's delighted with the results.

"For the first couple of weeks I wasn't mentally focused - my heart was still in Toronto. But it's been a great year. The riders are good. The horses are decent, and the facilities are A-one. At one point I was close to third place in the standings. And next year I will do better."

Entering Saturday's card Lauzon was the track's seventh leading rider with 50 wins. And with any kind of luck in the season's final two weeks he will hit the $1 million earnings milestone at Fort Erie. His earnings currently stand at $904,230. Three riders, Chris Griffith, Brian Bochinski, and Michael Quong, have already reached seven figures.

* Jockey Francine Villeneuve is through for the season. She broke a collarbone when she was unseated by Madam Duchess, who stumbled coming out of the starting gate here Oct. 20.