05/24/2006 11:00PM

'Bermuda' wins meet's first quarter-miler

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - Bermuda Triangle has started off where he left off last year at Fort Erie.

On Tuesday, in a field of 10, Bermuda Triangle led every step of the way to win the first quarter-mile race of the year.

Bermuda Triangle won the last two-furlong race of 2005 on Oct. 18. That was Bermuda Triangle's first win at the meet in seven starts, but he had four seconds. All were at two furlongs.

"I didn't do much with him over the winter," said trainer Bob Williams. "A little training on the farm, and I brought him in here four weeks ago. He breezed three furlongs and was ready to go. He's awesome."

The quarter-mile races are carded at three-week intervals, one for males and one for fillies and mares. The races have spawned Fort Erie heroes such as Pecos Star, who won six in a row in 2000. Then there was the filly Storming on Merit, who won nine straight in 2003 and 2004.

In 2004, Pembroke Hall followed a nine-race win streak at Fort Erie with a victory in the $50,000 Rocket Man Stakes on the Summit of Speed program at Calder Race Course.

Pecos Star, Storming on Merit, and Pembroke Hall all were trained by Don MacRae.

Originally, the two-furlong races were carded for $25,000 claimers at 125 pounds, with a one-pound allowance for each $1,000 drop in claiming price down to $6,000.

In an effort to spread the purse money for quarter-mile races wider, the claiming price last year was lowered to $12,500. This year, it's down to $10,000.

Last year's star dasher was Thats a Problem, trained by Noel Randall, who won three at the Fort plus Calder's Rocket Man.

Mr. Niner, trained by MacRae, won three dashes last year. During Fort Erie's off-season, Mr. Niner was 3 for 3 in West Virginia.

The last win, at Charles Town, was at the allowance level.

"We're giving Mr. Niner a freshener," said MacRae. "We'll see what happens. It's a tough call. Maybe we'll just claim Bermuda Triangle next time."

Lucky Tec wins, collapses, and is put down

Trainer Myckie Neubauer said that Lucky Tec, the Fort's 2004 horse of the year, died with his boots on after being led into the winner's circle following his front-running score under Chad Beckon in the seventh race.

Lucky Tec was put down after he collapsed from what was believed to be a heart attack. Lucky Tec, 8, won 12 of 52 starts and earned $434,614. "He was in great shape going into the race," said Neubauer. "He was a neat old horse that was very loved.

"It was fortunate that nothing happened to Chad. It could have happened during the race."

Sealock breaks out of 0-fer

Regina Sealock was winless in her first 25 mounts until she found the winner's circle at the Fort on Monday. Sealock, behind only Francine Villeneuve as Canada's winningest female rider, had back-to-back winners, Azdeck ($3.60) and Piggyback Cart ($29.30). On Tuesday she won aboard Cold War ($11.80).

"It's nice to get the monkey off my back," said Sealock, who has finished second six times.