09/03/2003 11:00PM

Labor Day to remember for Simon


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Lynn Simon came close to sweeping both ends of the stakes doubleheader here Labor Day.

Simon saddled favorite Soon to Be Single, who won the Miss Moneypenny, then sent out 14-1 longshot Brother Pat, who finished second by a neck in the Puss N Boots.

The runners are owned by the Come by Chance Stable of Edna Arrow, the 85-year-old mother of Woodbine trainer Jim Day, who bred both runners. They are offspring of Day's stallion Raj Waki, who also serves as Day's pony during the racing season.

Raj Waki had a stud fee of $660 last year with no takers. The stallion was to be gelded last summer but got a reprieve when one of his daughters, Bubbi Trap, finished first in the $125,000 Rainbow Connection.

The victory was overturned, however, when it was discovered that Bubbi Trap was carrying incorrect weight. The issue has been taken to court by Day and is still not resolved.

Officially, Raj Waki got his first stakes winner this year. She is Too Late Now, who captured the Grade 1, $250,000 Selene and the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks.

Soon to Be Single is Raj Waki's second stakes winner. Brother Pat appears to be the next candidate to succeed.

"Brother Pat is a phenomenal little guy, a very happy horse," Simon said. "He loves what he's doing - training and running on grass. We are looking at an Ontario-sired stakes at Woodbine for mid-October."

Claimer Ashagio racks up victories

Ashagio, claimed for $7,500 by trainer Daryl Ezra from an opening-day win at Fort Erie, has gone on to score five times for his new barn.

With six victories, the latest coming last Sunday, Ashagio is the track's winningest runner. His earnings for the year are $102,479 - remarkable considering he didn't race in any stakes.

And Ashagio, a 5-year-old gelding, has displayed versatility. He has won at four different distances, from five furlongs to 1 1/16 miles.

A shoo-in for claim of the year, Ashagio will commandeer serious consideration for the track's horse of the year honors. Patricia Trimble is Ashagio's regular rider.

Ezra, 38, a handicapper who served stints as a race caller and chart man, began training in 1995. "I'm still learning as a trainer, every day," Ezra said. "But it's handicapping that got me here."

Ezra has prospered in the claiming game. He's had numerous successful claims and few setbacks. One of his best scoops was Prospective Gal, a $16,000 investment four years ago.

"[Prospective Gal] won three in-house stakes for us," Ezra said. "She's still running and is just $5,000 short of $300,000. And we made most of that."

New trainer Blouin wins first race

A new face at the Fort is Marc Blouin. He won his first race as a trainer here on Tuesday with Pheisty Phoebe in a maiden special weight.

The filly was making her fourth start of the year. She is owned by Blouin and his wife, Belinda, who are both equine nutritionists for Agribands Purina Canada. It is their first Thoroughbred.

"We bought her as a riding horse," said Blouin, whose father used to be an owner-trainer of Standardbreds. "We liked her spunky attitude when we spotted her at the sale.

"I wanted to race her off the farm," he continued. "But the only way to do that was to get a trainer's license. I got it, but I had to write the test twice. I missed on rules and regulations. It was harder to get than my university degree was."