09/05/2004 11:00PM

Quick flight proves worth it

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Francine Villeneuve, who had won the $106,000 Silver Deputy at Woodbine earlier in the afternoon, hopped a helicopter to Fort Erie and guided A Nice Splash to victory in Monday's $58,000 Puss N Boots.

The Puss N Boots was one of the co-features on Monday's closing-day card along with the Centre Stage Anne. Both races were in-house stakes, for horses who had started at least three times at the meeting, and both were over 1 1/16 miles of turf.

A Nice Splash, the 1-2 choice in the field of 11, rallied from just off the pace to finish three lengths to the good of Baltic Prince, a 57-1 chance. The exactor returned $64.90.

Baltic Prince was another half-length back in third, with Irish Dave winding up fourth. The final time was 1:43.92.

A 4-year-old gelding owned by Paul Steckel and trained by Bruce Alexander, A Nice Splash was registering his fourth win in six starts this year.

A Nice Splash picked up $36,000, boosting his career earnings to $165,870.

Clubay returns to form

Clubay, rebounding from a last-place finish in the Golden Horseshoe here Aug. 8, led all the way to take Monday's $60,000 Centre Stage Anne by 3 1/2 lengths under regular rider Neal Poznansky.

Simply Precious came from just off the pace to finish second, with Orientalspringhope a length back in third and Kirlan fourth in the field of eight fillies and mares. The final time was 1:43.90.

Clubay returned $7 as the favorite and combined with 3-1 third choice Simply Precious for a $43.50 exactor.

A 6-year-old mare owned by Richard McMaster and Gemini Farm and trained by Ralph Biamonte, Clubay was recording her third win in five starts this year. She also captured the Rose City over six furlongs here June 20.

Clubay earned $36,000 to bring her career bankroll to $407,544.