11/13/2002 12:00AM

Handle up again


FORT ERIE, Ontario - For the third consecutive year, Fort Erie had significant gains at its 116-day meet, which ended Tuesday.

All-sources wagering reached $99,049,657, an average of $853,876 per day. Both figures were up 4.3 percent from last year's 116-day meet. Ontrack handle totaled $21,849,500, for an average of $188,357. Ontrack handle was up 1.5 percent from 2001.

Total purses distributed during the 116-day meet amounted to $21,873,400, a hike of 17 percent over the previous season.

This was the third full season with 1,200 slots at the track. There are no turnstiles at the track and all admission is free.

Martin Ramirez headed the jockey standings with 127 victories, while last year's champion, Chris Griffith, was second with 112. Both earned more than $2.1 million, the first time the $2 million plateau was reached here.

Saddling 79 winners, Layne Giliforte earned his fifth consecutive training title. His entrants earned more than $1.3 million. Chris Tuttle, with 71 wins, repeated his runner-up role of last year and also exceeded the $1 million mark in earnings. That level also was not previously attained here.

For the sixth consecutive season, Bruno Schickedanz has emerged as the leading owner, as his runners captured 32 races. Layne Giliforte's Startin Small Stable finished second with 24 wins.

Chris's Bad Boy, owned by Lou Capi and Fabian Skyers, was Fort Erie's winningest horse of the meet. He scored six times from his 10 starts here.