09/17/2009 11:00PM

Pimentel ready to resume as leading rider


FORT ERIE, Ontario - The jockey colony at Fort Erie has been buzzing of late with leading rider Rui Pimentel sidelined.

Pimentel, who is far ahead in the standings with 81 wins, was injured two weeks ago during a post parade incident. Off his mounts since then, Pimentel was expected back this weekend and was named on horses Saturday at Woodbine.

Apprentice rider and Fort Erie native Brian Cheyne joined the jockey fraternity last weekend at the Fort, rode his first two career races on Sunday, and then on Monday won with his second mount of the day.

Cheyne rode trainer Billy Lane's horse Bubba Luke to victory under a strong rail hand-ride as he had not been granted the use of the whip by the stewards. Following the winning race, it was announced that the 10-pound bug would be allowed to have a whip for his future mounts.

Terry Husbands, also an apprentice with the 10-pound weight allowance, won his fifth race last Tuesday, taking Timber Doe to the winner's circle after a stirring front-end tussle on the turf, where he gained the upper hand in the final furlong.

Husbands, who currently weighs in at 113 pounds, will now ride with a five-pound allowance.

Bradley Wilson, another apprentice and a graduate of Hall of Famer Chris McCarron's North American Racing Academy in Lexington, Ky., won his fourth race at the Fort two weeks ago and put his tack away for the winter, thus extending his apprenticeship into the 2011 season.

Krista Carignan, who lost her bug last month and has been riding many longshots at Woodbine this season in addition to her races at the Fort, found the winner's circle here in last Monday's ninth race with trainer Daryl Ezra's 53-1 shot Redifusion.

Redifusion, a 5-year-old gelding, won his fifth race in 45 tries by surging between foes in deep stretch and scoring by a whisker. He paid $108 while setting off a $20,165 superfecta.

Jockey Anthony Stephen has taken over second place in the rider standings from Melanie Pinto, 42-41. Chris Griffith is fourth with 35 wins.

Pair of long-time regulars die

Two long-time residents of the Fort Erie backstretch died last week.

Former trainer Charlie Sammut spent some 22 years on the Woodbine/Fort Erie circuit and was still active through 2007. Sammut, 61, trained runners for a number of owners but was best known for his own Kerri Lee Stable, named for his daughter.

Tom Belanger, who spent more than 60 years at Fort Erie, died at 77.

Entering the Thoroughbred world as a teenager, Belanger worked his way up to the position of supervisor with the mutuels department. On the backstretch, he was the leading force at the track kitchen, an operation now run by his son, Bryan.