08/22/2008 12:00AM

Garcia settles into third place


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Jockey David Garcia has been riding up a storm since settling in at Fort Erie for this meet, and he has now moved to third place in the standings behind Chad Beckon and Rui Pimentel.

Garcia, 34, has been aboard 156 horses this meet and recorded 34 wins, an almost 22 percent win rate. He also sports a solid return on investment of $2.65, one of the leading figures at this border oval.

Garcia's agent, Jack Lauzon, is extremely pleased with the rider's performance and welcomes the many calls that have begun to head his way.

"He is a pleasure to work with, and I am very happy to have David's book," said Lauzon. "He has been on a great roll these last few weeks, and his winning percentage of late has to rank right up there with riders throughout North America."

Garcia began riding at River Downs in 1992 but broke an ankle early in his apprenticeship, and it was two long years before he got back into the swing of things.

Since then his career has taken him to many of the Eastern tracks, including Mountaineer, Ellis Park, and Philadelphia Park, but the farthest west he has ventured is to Chicago's Hawthorne and Arlington ovals.

"I have done my share of traveling around," said Garcia, "and never really felt settled in any one place.

"Often, some of the racing meets are short-lived, and then you are off to the next track and beginning all over again. Two years back I took some time off to spend with my family and then decided to give Woodbine and Fort Erie a try."

Last year, as a new kid on the block trying to get established, Garcia rode only 44 times at the Fort, but this year is a different story.

"The more horses you get aboard, the better it is, and winning brings confidence with it," said Garcia. "I am very comfortable riding here at Fort Erie, and the people have been great to me. I can't remember being so relaxed, and this place is like being at home."

In addition to his Fort Erie wins, Garcia has also notched nine scores at Woodbine, but he notes that he is still working toward improving his record there.

"I have been aboard a lot of longshots at Woodbine, and of course it is tough to break in," said Garcia. "I am now in my second year and recognizing that getting to be known takes time, but things are going well, and I look forward to the rest of the season at both tracks."

Jockeys Beckon and Clark getting married

Jockeys Chad Beckon and Corey Clark are tying the wedding knot this weekend.

Both are having good years at Fort Erie - so the honeymoon will have to be postponed as the season moves into fall racing.

* Trainer Nick Gonzalez has taken over the lead in the trainer standings with 18 wins. Don MacRae is in second place with 16 scores, and he continues to hold a high win rate of 30 percent. Mike Newell rounds out the top three with 15 wins.