10/14/2005 12:00AM

Loss of bug won't deter Beckon


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Fort Erie's leading rider, Chad Beckon, won't have his five-pound apprentice allowance for the next racing week here. His allowance period comes to an end Thursday.

The lost benefit will hardly be a threat to derail Beckon from his march to the title - his lead going into Saturday's action here was a comfortable 16 over runner-up Neil Poznansky, last year's champ. The score was 87 to 71.

"It's been a great year and I'm accomplishing my goal," said Beckon about his title aspirations. "I started off slowly, but now I've put my time in."

Last year, Beckon had but three wins from 121 mounts heading into August. The drought led him to move his tack from Woodbine to the Fort. Beckon bloomed here and scored 12 times during August. The short meet ended Sept. 6 but the foundation for a big 2005 meet was laid.

Duys a quiet presence

In the midst of the jockey colony at Fort Erie is a very accomplished rider who has largely gone unnoticed.

She is Dodie Duys, who is in the top five of the all-time winningest female riders in North America. As of this week, Duys, 45, had registered 1,769 wins on the continent.

Duys, a native of Florida, was brought to Canada by her fiance, Wray Lawrence, a longtime trainer in Ontario who campaigns some of the Duys family runners. Dodie, along with her parents and a sister, own two breeding farms in Florida.

Duys launched her riding career as an apprentice at Gulfstream in 1983. Over the years she has competed at most of the Eastern tracks at one time or another. Her most productive year was in 1991 when she won 208 races.

A highlight of her career was winning a competition in Japan where female riders from around the world were invited.

In her 18 mounts at Fort Erie going into the weekend, Duys had won five. On Saturday Duys was named on one runner. On Sunday, she has two to ride.

MacRae to regroup in West Virginia

Trainer Don MacRae is headed to Mountaineer Park when the tent is folded here Nov. 1. He will take 15 to 20 out of his 22-horse barn with him.

"I'm trying to regroup after a bad year," said MacRae. "It hasn't worked out the way I thought it would. I had a couple of nice horses that didn't pan out."

MacRae saddled his eighth winner of the meet on Tuesday. With 40 starts going into Saturday, his win rate is 20 percent. That's a far cry from last year, when he rattled off 26 wins in 66 starts for a gaudy win rate of 39 percent. And, it was a shortened meet.

Among the runners headed to West Virginia are three recent claims made for a chief client, Darryl Jackson. Halo's Appeal, Diamond Heirloom, and Ice Pellet are proven performers who have gone through their conditions.

"They are ones that would be competitive in the wide-open classes and ones that would be claimed right away," said MacRae. "We're hoping for a short-term investment."

After the Mountaineer meet, MacRae will go to Ocala, Fla.

"No racing, just training for five or six babies," said the trainer, "and maybe the sales - we are always expanding."