06/03/2011 12:34PM

Fort Erie shifts to twilight racing for Monday, Tuesday cards


FORT ERIE, Ontario – Post times at Fort Erie change this week for Monday and Tuesday cards. The switch to twilight racing means the first race of the day will go off at 4 p.m.

First post time for Sunday racing will remain at 12:45 p.m. throughout the year.

Elissa Blowe, the track’s media and marketing manager, is looking forward to the new schedule, as are many local fans.

“The Prince of Wales dining room is getting plenty of calls for reservations these days” said Blowe. “It looks like full bookings on Monday and Tuesday will be the order of the day. Various theme buffets are offered and fans should consider an early reservation.”

New agent gives Griffith a boost

Chris Griffith leads the jockey standings with 15 wins, seven more Krista Carignan.

Part of the reason for Griffith’s success has been his new agent, Kevin Buttigieg.

“Kevin and I are old friends and a while back he mentioned that one day he might be an agent,” said Griffith. “He asked if I would tag along if he did make that move.

“We came to an agreement and today things are going very well. Kevin is an agent that is active and always on the move. This spring he has put me aboard a number of live mounts.”

Griffith, 41, has taken more than 1,400 runners to the winner’s circle in his career and is hitting at a solid 28 percent at this meeting.

Chatting over a pre-race lunch of bacon and eggs, Griffith was in a good mood as he noted that while other riders were in the hot box pulling weight he was enjoying a meal and no longer worried about adding pounds.

“For years I struggled with my weight,” said Griffith. “Then one day, after a busy day on the track, I recognized a considerable weight loss, which brought me around to thinking that I could work on a system to keep the pounds off.

“It does work and you cannot believe how nice it is not to sit in a hotbox for an hour, trying to drop weight before the card begins.

“These days, I’m just very relaxed and having fun.”

Griffith will be at Woodbine on Sunday to ride Speightstown Lady for his brother, trainer Ricky Griffith, in the $100,000 Alywow Stakes.

His first win of the year came aboard Speightstown Lady, who was sent off at 16-1 in her first lifetime start on opening weekend at Woodbine.

“Speightstown Lady was not a surprise,” said Griffith. “I had worked her many times and knew the inside post position would not be a problem as she has big speed. My only problem was to try and rate her after the break. She won easily.”

◗ Divine Music, under jockey Eurico Da Silva, set a track record for 6 1/2 furlongs in Tuesday’s sixth race, an allowance for nonwinners of three lifetime, running the distance in 1:15:22. The Malcolm Pierce- trained 3-year-old Divine Music was sent off at 3-10 odds and won going away by 8 1/4 lengths, earning a 96 Beyer Speed Figure.

◗ The much heralded ‘”Tiki Bar” is scheduled to open here this Tuesday. Situated on the grandstand side of the winner’s circle, the bar will be open five days a week and features a special food and drink menu. Bands will be featured at the site every Tuesday following the races. This week, to celebrate the opening, the band “Strictly Hip” from Buffalo, N.Y., will start the series of free Tuesday concerts.