05/18/2006 12:00AM

Beckon's four wins end 0-for-37 slump


FORT ERIE, Ontario - As an apprentice, Chad Beckon had a sparkling start on his way to capturing Fort Erie's riding title last year by a comfortable 15-win margin. He won the first three races of the meet.

This year, Beckon, now a journeyman, has had a rather ugly beginning. He was 0 for 37 for the year before he rode his first winner, which came at Woodbine on May 12. The horse was Fort Erie shipper Jammin in the Sand, at 27-1.

The joy was short-lived. In the parking lot, after his sole mount, Beckon found that his vehicle had been stolen.

"I guess that got me hungry again," Beckon joked.

Since then, he has won four races at the Fort over the past three racing days.

Actually, Beckon has no complaints about his early slump.

"Things have been working out well," he said. "Distance-wise, my horses were out there for experience and to get more fitness. I was galloping them out."

The four victories moved Beckon into fifth place in the standings. He has been named to ride five horses on Saturday's eight-race card.

Eleven mounts, seven wins

Daniel David, often referred to as the "Magic Man" by his admirers, is off to a roaring start at the Fort.

David rode three winners on Monday and leaped into second-place in the standings, one win behind leader Cory Clark, who has ridden in 45 races. David has 7 wins from just 11 mounts.

Equally remarkable is the fact that each of the wins was on a different horse and for a different trainer. So it's not as if he were on a hot horse or two or riding for a hot barn.

David's sobriquet comes from his patience and stillness exhibited during his rides. His mounts, generally, are relaxed at the back of the pack early and then they respond with a furious charge in the stretch, even though there is a minimum of urging.

"What I like about [David]," said high-profile trainer Ralph Biamonte, "is when your horses come back, they are not spent.

"The next day they feel good. He does not beat up on them. He uses his hands."

Montreal-born David, 42, is a nephew of Hall of Fame jockey Ron Turcotte. David was the leading apprentice at Woodbine in 1985 when he launched his career after much success with Quarter Horses at Picov Downs.

David's career has been interrupted several times because of weight problems. He has diabetes but he has been able to control it in recent years. He hasn't, however, been able to get below 120 pounds.

"Personally, I don't think five pounds means much, one way or another," said David.

MacRae enters win column

Don MacRae saddled his first Fort Erie winner this year on Monday with Marshall Rooster, who won the fourth race. It was MacRae's fourth start here this meet.

He won 16 of 32 starts earlier this year, at Mountaineer Park and Charles Town.

"It's nice to break the goose egg," said MacRae, partly attributing luck for Monday's result. "[Marshall Rooster] broke a step slow but the rail opened up."

MacRae said he would enter eight or nine horses this week between Woodbine and Fort Erie.