06/14/2007 11:00PM

Hinds finds barn driven to succeed

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - Trainer Austin Hinds has entered four runners for Sunday's card here at Fort Erie.

For 35 years, Hinds was in the car business in his hometown of Toronto. He had a car lot and also sold vehicles wholesale.

Hinds, 62, a racegoer throughout his life, had always a strong desire to become a horse trainer. But with a growing family, he wouldn't take the risk.

Five years ago, Hinds became a trainer. He had become an owner in 1985 and competed at Woodbine.

"My first trainer was Ray O'Connor," said Hinds. "I had a half-dozen with him. And then I used Bobby Fisher.

"I was a kind of a hands-on owner - walking hots and doing them up and stuff like that. I learned a lot."

Hinds had the same Woodbine allotment of five stalls every year, even though his operation was increasing.

"I was buying a couple of yearlings a year," said Hinds, who also began dabbling in breeding. "I bought a farm. I wanted more stalls at Woodbine so I could train there."

Rejection took Hinds to Fort Erie last year, where he recorded seven wins.

"We had 10 here last year," said Hinds. "This year, we have 13."

Hinds is off to a good start at the present meet, with four wins.

Brief freshening pays off

Gord Cowie, an owner/trainer, scored his first 2007 win on Monday with My Pal Holly, a recent purchase.

My Pal Holly, after three lackluster performances this year, one at Woodbine and the last two at the Fort, was given up on by his Toronto connections. A 3-year-old gelding, he had been a $75,000 yearling buy in a Keeneland sale.

Cowie said a test had indicated that My Pal Holly's blood "was all messed up."

The runner was given three weeks off before he responded with a 2 1/4-length victory.

"Being an owner/trainer helps," said Cowie. "You can take your own time, and you don't have to answer to anybody."

Little Red Zip is another recent buy. He hasn't been raced yet by his new owner. Cowie said that Little Red Zip had three races in May and needs a little time. He predicts a good result on the runner's return to action.

Cowie, 41, has had a trainer's license since he was 19. The third horse in his barn is Kain's Dancer.

Rombis barn doing nicely

Trainer Debbie Rombis continues to have an upbeat year. On Tuesday her stable star, Souvenier Biz, became the first three-time winner of the meeting.

Souvenier Biz captured his second straight quarter-mile dash. Those wins followed his opening day victory at 4 1/2 furlongs.

Rombis, with six scores, is just one behind Mark Fournier, Don MacRae, and Scott Fairlie, who are tied at the top of the trainer standing.