09/07/2005 11:00PM

Williams granted two wishes - turf and a win


FORT ERIE, Ontario - On Monday morning the jockeys tested the turf course here at Fort Erie and gave the green light for the afternoon's two Cup races, the Centre Stage Anne and the Puss N Boots.

Because of soggy conditions, turf races the previous two days had been switched to the dirt.

"I would have just died if they took the races off the turf," said trainer Robert Williams. "All three of my runners are just turf, with big, flat feet. I'd been aiming for the Centre Stage Anne since last year."

Last year, Williams's horse Kirlan finished fourth in the Centre Stage Anne. This year, Kirlan got the job done and returned $19.50. That payoff would have been higher had Kirlan not been coupled with stablemate Plamor Princess, who had won an allowance on the grass in June.

Kirlan was winless in four previous tries this year and had '05 earnings of just $595. Her win Monday was Williams's third of the year.

Plamor Princess finished eighth

Williams's third runner, Boldly Cautious, ran in the Puss N Boots, where he faded to finish second-to-last after leading for a half-mile.

Williams defeated a couple of giants last year. In the three-horse Harry Addison Jr. in July 2004, he saddled Domascas Consort to upset 1-20 favorite Forever Grand. The following month, he saddled Bermuda Triangle to upset quarter-mile specialist Pembroke Hall, who was seeking his 11th consecutive score. Pembroke Hall was a 3-5 favorite.

Giliforte gets his first stakes

Jason Giliforte is in his third full year as a trainer, and on Monday, in his first stakes, he sent out Kris's Dancer to capture the Puss N Boots.

Giliforte, 33, is the younger brother of Layne Giliforte, who has been the leading trainer at Fort Erie six times. The Puss N Boots score was Jason Giliforte's eighth win at the meet.

Giliforte and winning rider Chris Griffith took the traditional leap into one of the infield lakes following the presentation.

The Puss N Boots is named after a runner that deserted the racecourse through an opening in the hedge while enjoying a huge lead.

Elora carrying load for stable

Paul Mandalfino has a two-horse stable that consists of Exclusive Tale and Elora. Only Elora, however, has won this year.

On Sunday, Elora scored her fifth victory of the year, with four of those scores coming at Fort Erie and one at Mountaineer Park in March. Mandalfino said he feels there are more wins in the future for Elora, who has scored 4 of her 5 wins at less than six furlongs.

"She came from three lengths out of it," said Mandalfino of Elora's latest effort. "She didn't get the lead until far into the stretch turn. That's the latest she's ever made the lead."