10/19/2012 2:49PM

Fort Erie: Drexler has built a solid base for his stable

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FORT ERIE, Ontario – With Fort Erie expected to close permanently following the conclusion of the current meeting Oct. 30, many trainers here are uncertain of their future in horse racing.

But one trainer who has cause for optimism is 42-year-old Marty Drexler, who has been successful since transferring his stable from Assiniboia Downs in Manitoba several seasons ago.

“I groomed for a number of years before taking out my trainer’s license 10 years ago,” said Drexler. “We gradually built our stable and gained experience. My confidence gained as the wins started to increase and then the years 2007 and 2008 were very gratifying.”

Drexler was the leading trainer at Assiniboia Downs in 2007 and won the Manitoba Derby with Weather Warning.

Woodbine granted Drexler six stalls in 2009 and Fort Erie provided an additional number, thus allowing him to set up a satellite stable here.

From 2009 to 2012, Drexler has averaged 20 percent winners and has an in-the-money percentage of 55 percent.

Every trainer has a special horse in his career, and for Marty Drexler that runner arrived through a $5,000 Woodbine purchase.

Step On Up was a maiden with serious problems. He had run only twice before being injured and appeared to be a risky buy, but Drexler, known for his patience, sent him to Manitoba for a long rest and therapy.

“We brought him back to Woodbine in 2009 after missing all of 2008 and he proceeded to win five races and was named claimer of the year,” said Drexler. “The following season he won two more races for us, then was claimed for $40,000.

“Overall, Step It Up won seven races and almost a quarter of a million dollars. He failed to win after being claimed and eventually we bought him back for a small sum. It was time for him to retire and enjoy the pasture. He deserves it after what he did for us.”

Drexler plans to race in the United States once the Woodbine meet ends.

“I am looking for a few additional runners to add to my stable down there,” he said. “Hopefully, a few owners/trainers will be interested in joining us while looking for a chance to keep their runners in action this winter.”

◗ Quarter Horse racing ended last Wednesday at Fort Erie after a successful five-day meet. Rick Cowan, Fort Erie’s chief operations officer, was pleased with the wagering and attendance.

“The reaction from the horsemen was extremely positive and it was a pleasure to host them,” he said.