06/09/2006 12:00AM

Taylor soldiers on, and is rewarded


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Daniel Taylor is not enjoying the best of health. He moves determinedly, but with a stoop.

Taylor, 56, has been a blacksmith since he was 15.

In his dual role as a trainer, however, Taylor sports a robust win percentage of 41.7 here at Fort Erie this year, having scored with five of his first 12 starters.

Heading into the weekend, only Stacey Cooper had more winners, with seven - and Cooper has had 32 starters.

"I'm kind of retired," said Taylor. "I'm too crippled up to do anything else. I just try and have fun with some of my old friends and stuff. I'm not really interested in training for outside people."

You would have to go back to 2000 for the last time Taylor exceeded five wins here. He was 9 for 91 that season. Last year, he was 1 for 53.

There are eight runners in the Taylor barn. The top performer so far has been the versatile lower-level claimer Jackson Point, age 10.

Jackson Point is 2 for 2 at the meet. He returned $42.80 to his backers for his six-furlong score on May 27. On Tuesday, Jackson Point won at a mile and 70 yards. The payoff was $10.60.

Jackson Point actually finished second on Tuesday but was moved up when it was ruled that Mont Devil, who had forged in front, interfered with him.

Taylor rates Twopintsofbitter as his stable star.

"She's a real nice 3-year-old allowance filly who is just starting to run," he said.

After debuting in two early abbreviated sprints here, Twopintsofbitter left the maiden ranks with a score at six furlongs in an optional claimer on May 14.

Taylor has two starters this weekend: Stormy Day and Always Original.

King has big week

Rob King Jr., who moved his tack from Woodbine to Fort Erie this spring, is making his presence felt. King won six times here last week and tied Happy Ando for third place in the standings with 11 wins coming into this weekend. Cory Clark leads the standings with 14 winners, one ahead of Chad Beckon.

Ando is now competing as a journeyman. He lost his bug on Wednesday.

Rombis seriously injured

Trainer Debbie Rombis suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured pelvis, in an accident in the sand ring here on the morning of June 3. Rombis was exiting the area when a horse reared and toppled backward onto her.

Rombis underwent surgery and will remain in Hamilton General Hospital for at least five to six weeks. If a second operation is required, the enforced stay could be three months.

Candice Warwick, a close friend who retired from training last year, has stepped in to look after the Rombis horses.

* On June 2, trainer Darrin Palman was hospitalized. Palman, who was injured when he fell from his roof while working at home, also is in Hamilton General Hospital but is expected to be released soon.