08/30/2002 11:00PM

Blinkers off as Right Stop attempts turf


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Right Stop will be out to resume his winning ways here in Monday's Puss N Boots Stakes, the first of twin $55,000 stakes scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf on the Labor Day program at Fort Erie.

The Puss N Boots is for male runners, while the Miss Moneypenny is for females. All must have had at least two starts at the present meeting.

Both events drew full fields of 12, and the Puss N Boots has an also-eligible list of four.

Right Stop, trained by Tom Agosti, had his winning streak halted at four when he dropped a head decision to Divine Luck in an optional claimer here July 27. Agosti blames the loss on blinkers.

"If he had seen him coming he wouldn't have been caught," said Agosti. "I'm taking the blinkers off for the stakes."

Agosti admits, however, that he is worried about how his runner will take to the grass. "I don't know if he's a grass horse or not," he said.

Divine Luck has been entered, but trainer Layne Giliforte said he might not run if the event remains on the turf. The trainer is reluctant to deviate from a winning pattern, as Divine Luck has won all four of his dirt races this year while, losing his three turf tries.

Go Figure, a 4-year-old trained by Mycke Neubauer, will likely be one of the favorites. The gelding captured the Peninsula Stakes here Aug. 25 and was second in both the Aug. 5 Cool Reception and in the July 21 Benburb.

Agosti has two going in the Miss Moneypenny: Bouree and Native Wager. Neither fared too well in the draw for post positions, as Bouree will break from post 10 and Native Wager from 11. Inside posts are usually preferred because of the tight turns on Fort Erie's seven-furlong turf course.

The favorite's role in the Miss Moneypenny will likely fall to My Gabrielle, a 3-year-old trained by Nick Gonzalez. Miss Gabrielle was overpowering in two allowance turf scores at the Fort in July, when her margins of victory were 5 1/4 and 8 1/2 lengths.

Powderjay, a recent winner on the turf here for trainer Paul Nielsen, looms as the main threat. A 4-year-old by With Approval, Powderjay was making her first start on the grass after a layoff of 2 1/2 months.

"Obviously she likes the grass," said Nielsen. "She's in very good order, and I'm confident she'll do well."

Nielsen trains Powderjay for owner-breeder Layton Register of Kentucky. The filly was slated to go to Monmouth Park early in the spring but her connections decided to try for the attractive purses here instead.