10/01/2001 11:00PM

Knipe, Woolsey click in new environs


It doesn't take a scientist to train a racehorse, but with Duane Knipe, you get one.

Knipe, a former environmental scientist for the government, began training after he retired in 1985, and is in the midst of one of his most successful meets ever this season at Louisiana Downs.

In the last three weeks of racing, Knipe has sent out the winners of two major stakes, with both of those horses set to run in added money races later this month at Keeneland. He also won with two of his three starters Monday to improve his local record to 10 wins from 54 starts, which ranks him among the top 15 trainers at Louisiana Downs.

Knipe brought his stable back to Louisiana Downs this meet after being away for 11 years. Based on the East Coast during that time, he hopes to remain in this region after Louisiana Downs closes Nov. 11, then move his 21-horse stable to Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Chausson Poire has been the star of Knipe's stable. Owned by Pia Kirkham, Chausson Poire has won all three of her starts at Louisiana Downs, sweeping the meet's 3-year-old turf series for fillies by winning the $40,000 Chapel Belle Stakes on Aug. 12, the $50,000 Lyrique Handicap on Sept 2, and the $50,000 Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks on Sept. 22.

She is to start next in the Grade 3, $100,000 Valley View Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 20.

Also headed to Keeneland for Knipe is Champs Elysees, who improved her turf record to 5 for 6 when she won the richest grass race of the meet for fillies and mares, the $150,000 River Cities Breeders' Cup, on Sept. 15.

Owned by Dr. Michael Marenchic, she is to start next in the $75,000 Bryan Station at Keeneland on Oct. 19.

Both horses will be ridden by Russell Woolsey, who was aboard each for their last wins. Woolsey joined the Louisiana Downs colony on Sept. 13 at the request of Knipe. Two days later, the two teamed to win the River Cities Breeders' Cup.

"I came down from Delaware Park," said Woolsey, who has spent the last four years riding there and at Tampa Bay Downs. "I knew the Knipes, and had ridden a lot of these horses for them last year at Tampa. So, for me to come down and know the horses was a real bonus for both of us."

The two have clicked. Woolsey was aboard Knipe's two winners Monday, and the pair will team together again in the ninth race Thursday with Tax Shelter.

"The fact that Russell is riding her makes us feel good about the race," said Nadean Knipe, who serves as her husband's assistant. "I think Russell has won at least four races for us this meet and has ridden no more than 10 of our horses."

Another integral member of the Knipe team has been shed row foreman Rudy Turcotte, a former jockey and brother to Secretariat's rider, Ron Turcotte.

"I won a stakes here 25 years ago," said Rudy, who is in his first season at Louisiana Downs.

Other horses contributing to Knipe's strong meet include Main Street, who finished second in the $50,000 Barksdale Handicap on Sept. 1. He is being pointed for the $25,000 No Le Hace Stakes at Retama Park near San Antonio on Oct. 27.

And, What a Sweep, who was a nine-length winner of Monday's first race, will make her next start in a yet to be determined stakes, said Nadean.