08/17/2005 11:00PM

Rider missing an iron wins race anyway

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - Daniel David put on an exhibition of riding skill on Tuesday at Fort Erie. He won the first race, wire to wire, while having no stirrup on the right side of his mount, Tails of the Crypt, for the entire race.

"Soon as I came out of the gate the buckle on the stirrup broke," said David, 41. "The horse didn't get spooked. One mile and a sixteenth is a long way, even on two legs.

"I managed to sit on him pretty quietly down the backside. To give my leg a rest, I kind of tucked my leg underneath myself onto the saddle, and put a little weight on that. For the drive home I just put my foot back down and away we went."

David said that the challenge was to keep the horse running. He had to maintain his balance and had to keep his weight evenly distributed. It was very uncomfortable and even painful.

"Falling off never occurred to me," said David who got Tails of the Crypt home in front by 2 3/4 lengths. "Winning the race was all I could think of."

David canceled his other ride on the card because his leg was bothering him and he wanted to play it safe. Last fall, he suffered a groin injury and missed riding here in the early spring.

David returned to work at Woodbine on Wednesday evening. Though still feeling pain in the leg, he pronounced himself fit but finished off the board with his only mount.

David, who does much of his riding at Woodbine, had a big day at the Fort on Aug. 2, when he won with 4 of his 5 mounts. All the winners paid double-digit prices.

$3,500 claiming races added

At the request of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, Fort Erie has added $3,500 claiming races to its schedule.

"The purpose is to keep more runners on the ground," said racing secretary Tom Gostlin. "Some have been racing at Thistledown at that level."

The first of the $3,500 claimers was run on Tuesday, the race won by Tails of the Crypt. The purse for this level is $7,000.

Cory Clark rises in the standings

Cory Clark, with seven wins in the past week, has taken over sole possession of third place in the jockey standings. She was previously tied for that spot with last year's leading rider, Neil Poznansky.

Clark, a daughter of Sovereign Award-winning rider David Clark, a regular at Woodbine , is four winners behind the sidelined Francine Villeneuve, who has 47. Chad Beckon leads the way with 57.

Sailor Knot's new style works wonders

Owner Mike Barkowski credits a new running style for Sailor Knot's win in the 1 1/16-mile Peace Bridge Cup last week.

Sailor Knot was winless in four previous starts this year. In those races, he was positioned to come from behind.

"In his whole life, Sailor Knot has shown a tendency to close," said Barkowski. "But you have to fight with him early."

In a prerace strategy session it was decided to let Sailor Knot run freely if he broke well - no holding back. The result was a race-long duel on the front end with Pleasant Hall. Sailor Knot emerged a half-length winner.