06/04/2009 11:00PM

Souter putting on miles looking for winners


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Paul Souter was busy pounding the pavement at Fort Erie last Wednesday.

A former rider, Souter has been a jockey agent at this border oval for the last three years.

"Luckily, I love to walk," said Souter, "and this job has me doing plenty of that.

"I've been around the track for nearly 40 years, beginning as a groom in the early 70's at Woodbine, and became a jockey a few years later. I can tell you honestly, this job is the toughest of them all."

Souter retired from the saddle after compiling a solid record. He won 1,086 races over a 30-year career and his mounts banked over $9 million in purses. His career was highlighted by a win in the Queen's Plate aboard Son of Briartic in 1982.

He also recalls a couple of other special moments when, while still an apprentice, he rode the filly L'Alazane to a third-place finish in the Queen's Plate of 1978 and in the same season was third in the Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah.

Souter, 53, represents jockeys Chris Griffith and apprentice Melanie Pinto, and he recently picked up journeyman Dale Hemsley.

"My riders have been doing well this year," said Souter.

"Last week Melanie had one ride Wednesday night at Woodbine aboard Connie the Queen and came home a winner in a $40,000 claimer. In the Fort Erie standings she is second with 12 wins. Chris also has eight wins on his tab."

* First post at Fort Erie has been moved from 1:10 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in hopes of boosting the simulcast handle on the later races at the Fort, particularly on Mondays and Tuesdays when the racing fare is limited to a few tracks.

* Daniel David, a perennial top-five rider percentage-wise here, posted his first win at the meet last Tuesday while aboard his fifth mount of the year. David is known as one of the best local riders for relaxing runners and then coming on strong through the final furlong.

* Keep an eye on trainer Gregg Matties as he has sent out nine runners to date and hit the board seven times (77 percent in the money), including a couple of wins.

* Tab the classy Disbelief next outing when he starts for the Mike Newell barn off a recent claim. In his most recent try, Disbelief went from last to first in a paceless race and looks to be at the top of his game.