11/03/2001 12:00AM

Trainers say adios to retired Pecos Star


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Pecos Star, one of Fort Erie's best-known performers, has been retired. The 9-year-old gelding who was the king of the quarter-milers here had developed a habit in which his rear left leg would strike his front ankle during an all out run. Serious cuts would result.

Despite special boots, shoe modifications, and bandaging, trainer Ted Dobbie couldn't eliminate the problem. "Enough is enough. I just couldn't do it to him anymore," said Dobbie, who claimed the horse

June 25 from owner-trainer Don MacRae for $14,000. Pecos Star had a win, a second, and a third in three starts for Dobbie. The horse earned $191,345 and had 29 victories, 14 seconds and 11 thirds from 82 career starts. He shot into prominence last year after winning six consecutive races - all at two furlongs.

Dobbie said Pecos Star was one of the most admirable racehorses he had ever seen. Dobbie is looking for a home for Pecos Star outside of racing.

MacRae, 25, claimed Pecos Star for $4,000 in September 1999. In 17 outings for MacRae, the gelding won 10 times and was never worse than third.

"He had so much class," said MacRae. "He would do anything you asked of him. If all our horses were like him we'd be millionaires. He tries to win no matter the cost to him."

Clients have been knocking at MacRae's door and he credits Pecos Star with providing the career boost. MacRae saddled 16 winners at Fort Erie last year; so far this year, he has 30 and is in third place in the standings.

The latest owner to join the MacRae fold is Darryl Jackson, who sent over five runners. On Oct. 30, MacRae sent out Northern Bound - one of three horses the trainer has saddled for his new owner - for a win.

"This is my best year by far," said MacRae, who was first licensed when he was 17 years old. "With this year's success I just bought a farm. It's 15 acres and is a full-fledged training center. It has 17 stalls and a pool for horses. It's definitely a dream come true. And I'm just a 25-year-old kid."