04/24/2003 11:00PM

Schickedanz impressed with Adamo

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - Bruno Schickedanz, who has been the leading owner in victories at Fort Erie for the last six years, has a new trainer in his Fort Erie division. He's Anthony Adamo, a 32-year-old native of Kenmore, N.Y.

Kevin Attard, who took over the training of 20 Schickedanz horses from Ray O'Connor in a mid-season change last year, has returned to Woodbine. John Simms, who with a dozen horses was the other half of the owner's training duo here in 2002, will be taking over the bulk of the 40-odd runners that Schickedanz intends to run at Fort Erie.

Adamo, a graduate of a two-year course in animal science, received a trainer's license at Turfway Park in Kentucky when he was just 19. On his resume is a stint with New York trainer Michael Hushion.

With 18 wins, Adamo finished in a tie for 13th place in the trainer standing here last year. The year before he scored 19 times, up from 10 in 2000.

A thirst for more success led Adamo to pursue Schickedanz aggressively.

"When Tony approached me, he was so ambitious about getting his foot in the door that I just felt he would do everything possible to get it right," said Schickedanz. "He went to great lengths to impress me. I felt he was so committed in doing well that it was a win-win situation."

Stronach horses absent

For the first time in a number of years no stalls have been requested here for the Stronach Stable. In recent years Kevin Attard - and before him, Lynn Simon - had a small division for the high-profile owner.

"We only have a small handful of cheaper horses," said Mike Rogers, business manager of racing operations for the Stronach Stable. "The thinking is we'll run them at Woodbine first, and if they are not competitive there then we may ship them to the Fort, run, and then bring them back home."

There is also the possibility that these horses may be sent to Laurel Park in Maryland to a former Fort Erie trainer, Justin Nixon.

"Justin is a full-time trainer for us, and it only makes sense for us to stay within our team," said Rogers. "And Frank owns the racetrack so he probably wants to support that."

Nixon, 33, joined the Stronach organization Nov. 1. At the time he sported a winning percentage of 31 (13 wins in 42 starts) at Fort Erie.

After a schooling period under trainer Danny Vella at Stronach's farm in Florida, Nixon was assigned the outfit's Maryland division, and will race at Laurel and Pimlico.

Ramirez back to defend

Martin Ramirez is back at Fort Erie to defend the jockey title he captured here last year. Ramirez rode at Tampa Bay Downs over the winter and was listed this week in 10th place in the jockeys' race there.

Tyler Gaskin, who finished a remarkable fourth in the jockey standings after waiving the apprentice allowance he was entitled to, won't be in the jocks' room for a while yet. He has a weight problem.

"I relaxed too much over the winter," said Gaskin, who is exercising runners for trainer Mike Wright Jr. at Woodbine. "Too much fun in the Barbados. Anything not tied down, I was eating. I'm hoping to be back July or August."

Two more jockeys have joined the colony here. Teri McTurner has moved her tack from Woodbine and Stanley Bethley, the 1992 Sovereign Award-winning apprentice, has returned to riding here.