08/08/2007 11:00PM

King vs. Beckon heats up

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - The battle for leading rider is hot at Fort Erie between Robbie King Jr. and Chad Beckon.

King, who leads with 49 wins, is winning at 20 percent, while Beckon has 43 wins and an 18 percent winning rate.

One of the leading percentage riders is Daniel David, who is going along at a 22 percent clip, with 34 winners.

Also noteworthy is Tyler Pizarro, the top rider at Woodbine who comes to the Fort on Mondays and Tuesdays when that track is dark. Going into Saturday, Pizarro had 14 wins from 39 mounts (36 percent).

Fournier in front

A few years back, trainer Mark Fournier had only a few horses in the barn. He now heads the trainer standings here with 22 winners from 74 starters. He is winning at a 30 percent clip.

Two other high-percentage trainers at the meet are Scott Fairlie and Lyle Morden.

Fairlie is winning at a 48 percent rate (16 for 33), while Morden, whose runners win their fair share at Woodbine, has won with 8 of his 21 starters (38 percent).

Polytrack to dirt angle

Quite a large number of Woodbine runners have headed to Fort Erie during the spring and summer, some expecting to find easier company and some looking for improvement over this natural dirt surface when their efforts on the Polytrack at Woodbine have come up empty. There is no doubt that certain runners dislike Polytrack, while others have moved way up over that surface.

Fort Erie offers an opportunity for the horses who dislike Polytrack to run on something else, but there is no sure way of knowing how they will react with a Poly-to-dirt move

One handicapping key, in addition to looking back to previous dirt form at Fort Erie or over the old Woodbine dirt surface, is to check out the morning works and see if runners have been showing ability over Woodbine's training track, which has a dirt surface.

If they run well on the training track, but not when racing over Polytrack, then they just might like racing at the Fort.