09/02/2011 2:24PM

Fort Erie: Cup races on tap Sunday and Monday

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FORT ERIE, Ontario – Turf Cup races will highlight the Labor Day weekend cards on Sunday and Monday at Fort Erie.

On Sunday the $30,000 Labatt Cup, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares, attracted 13 entrants, including one also-eligible.

Monday’s feature is the Puss n Boots, a similar event for colts and geldings that will have a boisterous crowd cheering on the winning rider and trainer, who both will be expected to take the traditional leap into the infield lake. This year’s race marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous runner Puss n Boots, who left the track entering the stretch and decided to go for a swim himself.

Both races are restricted to runners who have started at least three times this meet at Fort Erie.

Elegant Kindness, the probable Labatt Cup favorite for trainer Layne Giliforte, gets back to the turf following a failed try in the mud. She won her previous two races on turf from off the pace under Betty Jo Williams, who again will ride.

The pace in the Labatt Cup is expected to be a hot one as sprinter Gee Pari is bound to go to the front.

Gee Pari, who will be piloted by Brian Cheyne, was claimed out of her last race by owner Gerard Catalano for $5,000. Her new trainer, John Wannemacher, may be able to spring a surprise as this 8-year-old is having a winning year on the Fort Erie dirt and in the past has logged some high Beyer Speed Figures on the turf. Her turf wins came going 6 1/2 furlongs at Woodbine.

Kissher to Keepher won wire to wire at this distance and on this surface two races back. She can be expected to stay close from the get-go. Conditioner Lynn Simon has put Dave Garcia back in the saddle. Garcia was aboard Kissher to Keepher for a July turf score.

Others worth considering for the bottom rungs of the tri and superfecta are Purrfect Tiger, La Gran Emma, Cinema Show, and Crawford County.

The Puss n Boots Cup attracted 17 entries but only 12 runners will go to the post. Preference for selection was based on highest earnings in 2010 and 2011.

Sorting out this race will not be easy. Included in the field are speed types such as Kettle Rapids, Movie Rock, and Grant’s Love so anyone trying to steal this race will find pressure every step of the way.

There will be a host of promotions here Monday in connection with the Puss n Boots, including free commemorative cups for the first 500 fans.

◗ Leading Krista Carignan is not riding Sunday or Monday as she is taking an early September break for some rest and relaxation.