09/10/2010 1:22PM

Later post time seen as boon


FORT ERIE, Ontario – The experiment with a late afternoon post time on Tuesdays in August has been assessed as a very positive improvement to the Fort’s meet.

“There was excitement in the air and the fans came out in droves to enjoy the races,” said Rick Cowan, Fort Erie’s chief operating officer. “Many young people were in the crowd, and their enthusiasm certainly added to the occasion.”

The handle on the final Tuesday in August exceeded the $1 million mark as both ontrack and offtrack wagering increased.

“We have to look at extending this concept for next year,” said Cowan. “I will be approaching the board when it meets on Sept. 22 with a proposal to increase the number of Tuesday twilight racing days and begin them earlier in the season.

“Everything is under consideration, but my appreciation is that the Sunday and Monday post time should stay as it is for now.”

Cowan went on to say that a Quarter Horse racing secretary will be on scene in mid-September to arrange the Quarter Horse meet which starts in October.

“We have brought Houston-based Eric Johnson on board for that position,” said Cowan, “and he will be developing cards for the 2nd, 9th, and 16th dates, all Saturdays.

Then on the final weekend, Oct 23 and 24, we are looking at 12 races on the card, four Quarter Horse races and eight Thoroughbred events.”

Those 12-horse cards for the final weekend arrive with a new post time of 12:30 p.m. for the Fort. That post time will be in place for all of the final four days of the meet.

Summers, sportswriter, dies

Bob Summers, who as columnist for the Buffalo News covered many sporting events including horse racing, died last weekend. He was 66.

Summers was an ardent racing fan and spent many of his weekends roaming around the Fort, always with a smile on his face and a mutuel ticket in his hand.

His coverage of the Canadian racing scene was extensive and his columns on the Queen’s Plate and other major racing events both at the Fort and at Woodbine were welcomed by the local community. He will be sorely missed.

Villeneuve out with injury

Francine Villeneuve’s goal of winning 1,000 races will have to be put on hold for another season, as the journeyman rider had an off-the-track mishap, breaking her ankle on a sidewalk incident.

Villeneuve, after being away from racing since 2006, had picked up her tack earlier this year and decided to try for the milestone.

Villeneuve finished the season with a lifetime record of 969 victories, leaving her with 31 wins still to go to reach her target.

Top rider takes plunge

Krista Carignan’s cannonball leap into the Fort Erie track’s inner lake Monday afternoon was something to behold.

The young rider, leading the current standings here by a wide margin, took the Puss n Boots Cup race with front-running Kettle Rapids. Her jump into the late was certainly a record-setter.