05/19/2005 11:00PM

One star in 2-horse stable


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Owner-trainer Paul Mandalfino, who had only one win here in 2004, is on a hot streak with his runner Elora. The mare, who makes up half of Mandalfino's two-horse outfit, scored her third consecutive win on Monday.

Mandalfino purchased Elora last summer for $750. She was a 4-year-old maiden.

Two weeks later, Elora was in the winner's circle. In nine races for him she has not failed to produce a check.

Elora began her streak in her first start of 2005. It was a seven-length score at Mountaineer Park in a $5,000 claimer for non-winners of two.

Mandalfino ran her there because his wife, Julie, a former jockey, was galloping horses for the Stronach string competing there.

On May 1, Elora won a race here by 3 1/2 lengths. The margin in her last win was 8 3/4 lengths, the second-biggest margin of the young meet. Glory Run, trained by Tom Agosti, won by 9 1/2 lengths on May 14. The Fort's leading rider, Chris Beckon, was aboard for both of Elora's local wins.

Elora's next start will likely be at Woodbine, for $12,500.

"Bottoms is bottoms," said Mandalfino. "It doesn't matter the track."

Concessi barn starts fast

After the first three weeks of the Fort Erie meet, Armand Concessi surprisingly stands atop the trainer standings.

Concessi, who finished the 2004 meet in 13th place with 13 wins, shares the top spot with Debbie Rombis and Nick Gonzalez. Each has four wins.

"I didn't do anything much different than last year," Concessi said. "I do have a few more horses."

Concessi, 53, has 15 horses in his barn; last year, he had nine. He had his best year in 2000, when his horses won 26 races.

This year, when Woodbine opened for training on March 6, Concessi was there with a stable of eight runners, including a couple of 2-year-olds. One of the juveniles is Vintage Year, a Tethra colt owned and bred by Concessi.

"He's very promising," Concessi said. "He's a reason I went to Woodbine. I wanted to get him started there."

Vintage Year was boarding at a training center when he was broken last fall. He was put into training Feb. 2.

"He's doing very well," said Concessi. "He walks into the gate like he's been there a hundred times."

Oddly, the horses of his that had an early start at Woodbine have yet to win a race. The victories have come from his horses that started later and here at Fort Erie, when it opened in April. And, none of those winners raced during the winter.

Angel's Wisdom, a 5-year-old gelding who has earnings of $130,913, is the star runner in Concessi's barn. He finished second to Rundle here Oct. 9 in an allowance race.

"I took [Angel's Wisdom] for $20,000 two years ago and he's done very well since," said Concessi.

He will saddle Dawn Charger, another claim, in the fifth race, for $5,000 starter horses, here on Sunday. "Dawn Charger is training very well," he said. "I tried to run her for a tag but the race didn't go."

One horse Concessi has high hopes for is Colonel Cleator, whom he claimed for Dawg Pound Stable for $25,000 on Oct. 10. "He was all set to run on the second week but came up with a stone bruise," Concessi said .

* Martin Ramirez, the leading rider here two of the last three years, won the finale on Monday, in his third ride of the meet, on Kain's Dancer, who paid $65.90 for the win. Ramirez is riding regularly at Woodbine Wednesdays through Sundays. He is riding here on Mondays and Tuesdays.