09/04/2002 11:00PM

A prepared Powell takes the plunge


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Owner-trainer Gina Powell was so confident she would win Monday's Puss N Boots Stakes at Fort Erie with Get Down Wolfie that she wore a bikini under her blue outfit.

In 1996, owner Robert Elkins started a tradition when he dove into an infield lake following his victory with Dancing for Beans in the fifth running of the Puss N Boots. Since then a member of the winning party, usually the jockey, takes a dip.

The stakes is named after the stakes horse Puss N Boots, who with a big lead veered through an opening in the hedge and leaped into the infield lake some years back. The horse's handlers, fully clothed, splashed in after him.

After Get Down Wolfie won, Powell stripped to the bikini and joined jockey Tyler Gaskin for the traditional plunge.

Powell, 42, received her trainer's license three year ago while living in Kentucky. Get Down Wolfie was one of three babies she bought for a total of $24,000 to form a stable that would begin racing in 2000.

But Powell was discovered to have hepatitis C and at one point was near death. It wasn't until that winter, when she took her three horses to Florida, that she was able to develop them.

"These guys were in the fields as 2-year-olds, basically waiting for me to get better," said Powell, who also had problems getting stalls at a track when she was ready to launch her career in 2001. Rejected at Keeneland and Woodbine, she managed to get two at Fort Erie.

Her three-horse stable picked up two wins from 28 starts here last year. She also had six seconds and six thirds here, and at Woodbine she managed a second and a third in eight starts. Total earnings were $79,417.

This year Powell - a stepdaughter of the late Willie Thurner, a longtime trainer and owner on the Ontario circuit - has four wins from 17 starts here. Get Down Wolfie, whose victory Monday was his first in a stakes, now has earnings of $113,050.

Powderjay to stay on grass

Trainer Paul Nielsen said he intends to keep Powderjay, winner of the Miss Moneypenny Stakes on Monday, on the turf. Monday's score made her 2 for 2 on that surface.

Powderjay is the first horse Nielsen has saddled for Layton Register, a new client he picked up at Payson Park this winter.

Register is from a prominent Kentucky horse family. A sister, Alison Register, is a trainer on the Kentucky circuit, and his parents operate a breeding establishment called Stonereath Farms Inc.

Nielsen, who won this year's Prince of Wales Stakes with Le Cinquieme Essai, has a second runner for Register - a maiden named Sun Springs. He expects to start her next week.

Race results overturned

The Ontario Racing Commission has overturned the results of the seventh race here Aug. 28, which was won by Show Me the Monte.

Trainer Campbell Wilson, who saddled Oh Mar, the fifth-place finisher in the race, lodged a protest. It was determined that three runners - Show Me the Monte, Booker D, and Mahone Bay - failed to carry the correct weight and so they were declared unplaced.

In a revision of the order of finish, Mr. Wooly was moved from second to first and Oh Mar was placed second. Strike M Red and Local Calling were third and fourth.