06/10/2005 12:00AM

Nixon stable few but strong


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Despite having no stalls at Fort Erie and saddling only five horses at the six-week-old meet, trainer Justin Nixon is in a tie for seventh-place in the standings.

Nixon has sent out four winners and one second-place finisher from five starters here and has pushed his main client, Stronach Stable, to the top of the owner standings. Three of the wins were for Stronach and the other for Nixon's dad, Frederick.

"I applied for stalls as a public trainer, not as a private trainer, but I was never contacted," said Nixon. "And when I called regarding my stall application, I was told that all the stalls were already allotted and that I was two days late with my application."

Nixon said he would continue to enter and run from his current base at Woodbine.

"I've always liked Fort Erie, and the track surface there is fantastic," he said. "I started out there and have many fond memories, and hopefully I'll have some more."

Last year, Nixon had stalls at Fort Erie with a string of Stronach runners. His 20 wins gave him a share of fifth-place in the standings, and his win rate from 52 starters was an impressive 38.5 percent. The Stronach Stable finished third in the owner standings with 16 wins.

Nixon left Fort Erie in late 2002, after six seasons there, to train horses for Team Stronach. His base in 2003 was in Maryland.

David has successful return to meet

After missing all of the Fort Erie meet in 2004, jockey Daniel David was back in the saddle here Tuesday, finishing second and fourth in his two rides.

A Woodbine rider for most of his career, David spent the 2003 season here, winning 67 races from 299 starts for a handsome win rate of 22 percent. He finished seventh in the standings.

Last year, David didn't begin riding until after the Fort Erie meet was over. He rode at Woodbine from early October to the end of the meet in December and recorded 12 wins from 114 rides.

"I had pulled a groin in late October, but I still rode to the end of the year," David said. "I started galloping horses very early this year. Plans were to ride at Woodbine in April, but my hip and my groin just weren't getting better."

A doctor advised David to get a few months of rest, and on June 3, he was given the green light to return. Two days later, David won the first race at Picov Downs in Ajax, Ontario. In his other mount on the five-race card of Quarter Horses, David finished fourth.

"The plan is to stay at Woodbine," David said. "But absolutely, I'll ride here on Mondays and Tuesdays."