04/24/2003 11:00PM

At 11, two still roll occasional 7's


STICKNEY, Ill. - On Feb. 15, 1995, a horse named Shed Some Light made his career debut at Remington Park. Two months later, at Oaklawn Park, Wild About U had the first start of his life.

At 11, both have reached rocking-chair age now, but they are still racing with success at Hawthorne. Shed Some Light, who was to run here Saturday, finished second in his last start, while Wild About U celebrated his 100th career race with a win here on April 13.

So solid is Wild About U for a horse his age, he was claimed out of the race by trainer Joey Camardo.

"I'll tell you, I looked at him coming into the paddock and he looked pretty good," said Camardo.

Wild About U has slipped down the claiming ladder, but at a much slower rate than most old horses, and the horses he just beat here were $6,000 claimers, two levels above the bottom here. Part of Wild About U's success is Hawthorne itself: At this track, he has started 30 times and won nine, more than half the victories in his career.

"He's a neat old horse, as cool as they get," said jockey Larry Sterling, who first rode Wild About U three years ago and has been aboard for several Hawthorne wins. "You can peck on him, try and get him to move, but he's not going to go until he's good and ready."

In fact, there seems to be a spot etched at about the three-furlong pole that Wild About U has picked out as the moment to begin his serious work. And with the right pace in front of him, he often gets there.

"He's pretty tough," said Camardo. "He's doing pretty good, even better than I expected. Next time I run him, I may put a rabbit in there to make sure there's pace. As long as there's something to run at, he'll be right there. When they make it to 11, there's a reason for that. He doesn't need much training. You just play around with him in the morning."

That's the same strategy trainer Tom Tomillo has employed with Shed Some Light, who, after Saturday, will be only three races away from his 100th start.

"When you give these old horses a break, they'll come back good," Tomillo said. "If you try to do too much in the morning, you'll just sore them up."

Though neither aches, pains, or anything else has stopped these warriors yet.

Douglas just passing through

A familiar - even ubiquitous - name cropped up on Saturday's list of entries here, but jockey Rene Douglas is just breezing into town for the card before leaving again for Florida.

Douglas trampled his rivals in the Arlington Park jockey race last year, but after riding in Florida and Kentucky this winter and spring, Douglas will await Arlington's May 9 opening before permanently shifting his tack back to Chicago.

"We're getting ready for that, in fact I'm already working on stuff right now," said Douglas's agent, Dennis Cooper, who found Douglas the mount on Bare Necessities, who was to expected to be the favorite Saturday in the Grade 3 Sixty Sails.

Meanwhile, Cooper is keeping busy booking mounts for the journeyman rider Chris DeCarlo, who has begun riding here after spending several years in Florida, New York, and New Jersey. Cooper said DeCarlo approached him about riding in Chicago a year ago, but was injured shortly thereafter and went through his recovery period before making the move.

Word out on Bohunk

The 9-1 offered on Bohunk when he raced here April 6 was an exceedingly generous price, but that sort of value is long gone now. Bohunk runs back Sunday in the sixth-race feature, and he will be no worse than second choice in a seven-horse field of 3-year-old first-level allowance sprinters.

A debut winner on grass this winter at Fair Grounds, Bohunk faltered in a turf route there before going overlooked in his dirt debut here April 6. He missed catching a fellow Fair Grounds horse, Mister Fox, by a nose, but certainly proved himself equally capable on dirt. Bohunk had costly trouble in his loss - jockey Justin Vitek had to steady on the turn - and has come back to post two solid workouts for the Hugh Robertson barn.

To win, Bohunk must beat Iceplosion, who impressively won his maiden here March 18 and finished a solid second three weeks ago in the $101,000 Lost Code Stakes. Trained by Charlie Livesay, Iceplosion was no match for Coach Jimi Lee, who easily won the Lost Code, but beat the talented 3-year-old My Calabrese by more than three lengths. On paper, it's a long way back from the top two choices to any potential upsetters.