05/11/2005 11:00PM

Clubay iffy proposition on new oval


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Trainer Ralph Biamonte has some misgivings about having entered his $400,000-plus earner, Clubay, in Saturday's $22,000 allowance feature at Fort Erie.

Biamonte, who has a split stable of 20 horses at Woodbine and 15 at Fort Erie, fears that Clubay may suffer the same fate as her Woodbine stablemate, Wild Willard, on Monday.

Wild Willard, at odds of 3-5 with Woodbine rider David Clark aboard, finished third in Monday's five-furlong feature race at Fort Erie, beaten by six lengths by the winner, Rundle.

Wild Willard was shipped down to Fort Erie because a targeted Woodbine race didn't fill.

Biamonte feels the rebuilt Fort Erie racing surface may be responsible for his runner's sub-par performance.

"Clark said it's a beautiful racetrack, the best he's been on," Biamonte said. "But he said that a horse needs a race over the track before it can run to its potential.

"And I believe it, because that horse [Wild Willard] worked five-eighths at Woodbine and he was fine. When he came back from the Fort Erie race, he was tired and exhausted."

Clubay, 7, won the Centre Stage Anne Stakes on Fort Erie's closing day last year. In that race, Simply Precious finished second and Orientalspringhope third. The three will clash again here on Saturday.

Wills starts fast

Orientalspringhope is trained by Daniel Wills, who is off to fine start this year. He has 3 wins in 7 starts, counting one victory at Woodbine.

Wills didn't run his horses in the winter, nor did he go south.

"I stayed here all winter," said Wills, who had 15 wins last year, good for 10th place in the trainer standings.

"We got our horses fit at Jack Wilson's training center across the road from the track. We started in February and shipped in two months later."

Wills's latest winner came on Monday, when he dropped Toneless into an $18,000 claimer after an out-of-the-money finish on opening weekend. Toneless ran the six furlongs in a brisk 1:10.86.

"He's a nice little horse," said Wills. "If you run them in the right spots, they are all stars."

Quong back with a bang from winter off

Michael Quong rode a hat trick here on Monday. The three wins raised his total to five, moving him into third place in the standings.

For Quong, 45, it was one of his best early-season starts. He did not ride over the winter.

"After the meet here I went to Thistledown for a month," Quong said. "Then I went to Florida and galloped horses for Adena Springs."

* Jockey Kris Robinson returned to action last weekend after an absence of 10 1/2 months. He won with his third mount of the year, Fairwell Madrid ($14.30).

Robinson, 27, was injured July 24 when his horse tried to go through the rail after leaving the gate.

"I dislocated my shoulder and tore an auxiliary nerve," Robinson said.

Robinson was the Fort's apprentice of the year in 2002. He rode 30 winners last year.