05/25/2005 11:00PM

Forster's road trip successful despite unexpected pit stop


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer David Forster had a nice homecoming of sorts. Forster, who was born in Edmonton but spent more of his youth in Calgary, won two stakes at Stampede Park in Alberta last weekend.

Blowin in the Wind won the Teeworth Plate on Saturday and Summer Symphony scored a 2 1/2-length win in the Ken Pearson Memorial Handicap on Monday. Forster is weighing his options for both horses following their impressive performances.

It was Blowin in the Wind's third straight stakes win. He won the Grade 3, 1 3/8-mile Premiers last October and he got up in time to win sprinting in the George Royal opening day at Hastings.

His win in the one-mile Teeworth Plate was the strongest performance of his career. Blowin in the Wind earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure, which is 8 points higher than his previous best, and his 2 3/4-length margin of victory was also the largest of his seven career wins.

Robert Skelly, who was aboard for all three of Blowin in the Wind's stakes wins, said he thinks that a mile might be his best distance.

"He's never really opened up like that before," Skelly said. "I'm taking him to Emerald Downs for the Longacres Mile, and Dave and Teri can join me if they want."

Forster, who owns Blowin in the Wind with his wife, Teri, isn't looking that far ahead - Aug. 21 - but he did say the Mile was a possibility.

"The only thing for certain is that neither Summer Symphony nor Blowin in the Wind will sprint again this year," he said. "It depends on who's coming and how the race shapes up on whether or not Blowin in the Wind will run in the Mile. There's plenty of other spots before then."

One possibility, Forster said, is the $125,000 Lieutenant Governors' on July 1.

Both horses almost didn't make it to Calgary. The van they were on broke down just outside of Kamloops, which is about four hours from Vancouver.

"It wasn't a big deal and they're both good shippers," said Forster. "They had to wait in the van for about three hours while it was getting repaired but they both remained cool, and by the way they ran, the stopover obviously didn't bother them."

Forster nominated Blowin in the Wind to the John Longden 6000, which goes next Saturday.

"I'm not completely sure if he will run or not," Forster said. "He came out of his race in good shape but that's coming back pretty quickly. We will see how he's doing next week before making a final decision."

If Blowin in the Wind does run in the Longden it will give Forster a shot at his seventh win in the race.

"The only race I've won more is the Nanaimo," said Forster. "I've won it seven times."

Summer Symphony could make her next start in the Brighouse Belles on June 11.

"I will nominate her along with Socorro County, Overact, and maybe Gold Accent," said Forster. "I will probably run two of them and maybe three."

Forster was always high on Summer Symphony but she needed time to develop.

"She was a slow learner," he said. "It just took her a while to figure it all out but she's all racehorse now."

No additional purse hike in sight

The handle on live racing continues to be strong, up more than 46 percent, with the ontrack figure up about 4.5 percent. Most of the increase can be attributed to California wagering into the Hastings pool on a regular basis. With those impressive numbers, the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association was hoping for a purse increase.

A total of $1.5 million was added to the purse account at the beginning of the year but management at Hastings is reluctant to up the overnight purses just yet.

"We have 12 more days to fund compared to last year, plus the better races have been going so we've been paying out about $2,000 more per race than in 2004," said Michael Brown, Hastings general manager. "Even without an increase our purses are still pretty strong. Last weekend, without running any stakes, we paid out over $400,000 in purses. We will continue to monitor the situation and we will make a retroactive payment if it's warranted."