06/01/2006 11:00PM

Mora finding locals like her horses

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - Florida-based trainer Myra Mora, instead of returning to Calder Race Course, shipped 11 runners here to Fort Erie after the Tampa Bay meet ended.

Her friend and fellow-trainer Bruce Anderson instigated the change. Anderson competes at Tampa and here.

"He ran a horse for me here two summers ago," said Mora. "I decided to try Finger Lakes, but it didn't work out there for me. I took most back to Florida but I sent two to Bruce to train here. He raced one at Woodbine and had one start here."

That Fort Erie starter, Pleasant Pick, won a mile and 70-yard race on July 11, 2004, by almost six lengths and paid $14.10.

Mora got her first winner at Fort Erie as a trainer on Tuesday. She has 1 win and 1 third from her 4 starters.

The reception for Mora, so far, has not been exactly rosy. Two of her last three starters, including her winner, Zipadedoodle, have been claimed from her.

"At this rate I'll soon be out of business and back in Florida," Mora joked. "Maybe I'll be able to get a job at McDonald's."

Mora started training nine years ago after retiring from riding jumpers in the world of show horses.

"I've had stakes horses," she said. "I've been to Dubai with Tour of the Cat. He didn't win but during the time I had him he won $850,000."

New trainer wins maiden with start No. 5

It took Rob Johnston, 33, just five races to win his first race as a licensed trainer. He saddled the winner, Fools Rush In, here on Monday.

Johnston, who had two seconds and a third in his other four starts, went on his own this year after being a farm trainer in Florida for the past seven years, the bulk of his work for Bruno Schickedanz.

Earlier, Johnston was an assistant to his father, Carlton Johnston, when his father won the trainer title at the Fort in 1997.

Johnston has seven runners in his barn. Fools Rush In was claimed from him in the winning race.

"I've got a couple of maidens I'm taking my time with, Samlex and Hurricane Haley," Johnston said. "And the other runners, I won't run them unless they are 100 percent right."

Changes to cup conditions

Fort Erie has announced some changes to its schedule of $30,000 cup races, which are scheduled to begin with the Fort Erie Slots Cup Aug. 5.

Except for the final two cup races, which are restricted to 2-year-olds, a runner will need to have three previous starts at the meet to be eligible to compete in a cup race.

Since some of the cup races will be run as starter allowances, specific conditions will have to be met for eligibility in those races.