08/20/2010 12:54PM

Cheyne scores eight in breakout weekend at Fort Erie


FORT ERIE, Ontario – When apprentice jockey Brian Cheyne took trainer Lou Capi’s Found the Treasure into the Fort Erie winner’s circle Tuesday evening, it capped an eight-win weekend for him from Aug. 15 to Aug. 17. With four wins Sunday, three Monday, and one the final race of the weekend, Cheyne, 21, gave notice that he will be a force for the rest of the meet.

Cheyne was 20 of 137 at the meet through Thursday but has won 13 of his last 56, a 23 percent win rate.

It may have all begun back July 18, when Cheyne first climbed aboard Found the Treasure, then a 3-year-old maiden, going off at odds of 17-1. Found the Treasure had never come close to hitting the board in 14 lifetime starts, and Capi decided a change to the young apprentice might help Found the Treasure show some interest.

As the field left the gate, Capi watched Cheyne settle his runner into the first turn, more than 22 lengths behind the front-runners. The thought “not again” entered his mind. But Cheyne, who likes to let his horse relax when he can, had other plans. After going a half-mile, Cheyne asked for a response from Found the Treasure, and he got it. The closing rally from last to first was impressive, and Cheyne was all smiles as he headed into the winner’s circle.

“It was unbelievable,” Capi said. “He was so far back.”

Cheyne said he was impressed with Found the Treasure’s gameness.

“He can run a bit,” Cheyne said. “Lou welcomed me back and said, ‘Nice ride.’ ”

Found the Treasure’s win Tuesday, another rally, was icing on the cake. He paid $19.50 to win; the lowest win payoff of the weekend for Cheyne was $9.50.

Through Thursday, Cheyne was tied for sixth in the rider standings, but his $2.83 ROI was easily the best of the top 10 riders.

“There have been many longshots, especially at Woodbine, and in all honesty, it can wear on you,” he said. “But it is great to win, and this weekend [Aug. 15-17] sure brightened things up.”

David O’Connor, Cheyne’s agent, has been busy getting Cheyne his share of rides, and it has paid off.

“He has me aboard a half dozen runners every morning, and we are working very well as a team,” Cheyne said. “I am certainly looking forward to the rest of the season.”

◗ Jockey Anthony Stephen on Tuesday, Aug. 24, will sign photos of his win aboard Golden Moka in the Prince of Wales. Also, trainer Nick Gonzalez and his wife, Martha, will sign winner’s circle pictures of the Queen congratulating the couple after Big Red Mike’s victory July 4.

◗ Tom McKinnon, mutuel manager at the Fort, said California will be on board for simulcasting on Mondays. Decoder costs and limited wagering interest has prevented California from participating in the past. Monday, the final race had a handle of approximately $180,000, a very positive indicator. McKinnon said he is still working with Las Vegas and Illinois simulcast coordinators in joining Fort Erie’s simulcasts.