07/27/2005 11:00PM

With three wins, Tobin's Gabby is queen of the quarter-milers


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Tobin's Gabby has replaced Storming on Merit as the queen of the female quarter-milers at Fort Erie.

Tobin's Gabby, 6, has won all three of the two-furlong races restricted to fillies and mares that have been carded so far at the meet. The latest was on Monday, when she put away nine opponents.

"She just loves to run that quarter-mile," said Tobin's Gabby's jockey, Melissa Polkey. "She comes out flying now. And if a horse comes to her, she hits another gear and she's gone."

On Monday, Polkey said, "Two horses came to her in the race and she just eased away from them. And I never use the stick on her, I just sit and yell."

Tobin's Gabby's only loss in 2005 was when she tried the boys in her first start of the year.

Storming on Merit, who won nine consecutive two-furlong dashes over the last two years, was sent to the breeding shed in the spring.

Pembroke Hall has lost a step

In the male division of the quarter-milers, the long reign of Pembroke Hall has come to an end. Pembroke Hall ran up 10 consecutive quarter-mile victories in a streak that began in late 2002 and ended last summer.

Pembroke Hall, an 8-year-old gelding, suffered his third straight loss of the year on Tuesday, finishing fourth. The winner was Mr. Niner, who notched his second straight victory at the distance.

Mr. Niner has more to do in order to top the list of quarter-milers. In his first two cracks at the distance at the meet, he twice finished third to Thats the Problem.

Thats the Problem is 2 for 2 in Fort Erie quarter-mile races. For his last start, he shipped to Calder to capture the $50,000 Rocket Man Stakes on the Summit of Speed program.

Monday handle was year's biggest

Fort Erie had its biggest one-day handle of the year on Monday, taking in $1,508,817. The 10-race card attracted more action than that of the 11-race Sunday program on Prince of Wales Day, July 17.

"That could be attributed solely to the fact that we had 10 very good races - full fields, and very competitive races," said Herb McGirr Sr., director of operations. "And they weren't at the top end, either."

The contrast to that was Tuesday's card, McGirr pointed out. With the same number of races and the same simulcast partners, the handle dipped to $1,039,789.

"The bottom line is, give the customer full fields that they can have betting on, and they will bet your product," said McGirr.

* Jockey Dan Boudreau, an eight-time winner at the meet, has left to ride at Retama Park in Texas. Boudreau, the leading apprentice here in 2003 with 41 wins, took a year off and rode at Retama last winter.