11/07/2002 12:00AM

Attention ladies: Riders up!


ANDERSON, Ind. - Saturday's second annual Ladies' Night brings together 11 female riders from the Midwest to compete in a series of five races.

The riders receive points based on their mounts' finishes in the five-race series. With just 10 starters allowed, the rider who sits out a race will also have a chance to pick the horse she would have preferred to ride and earn points on the horse's finish. There is no grand prize for the winning rider but each participant receives a trophy.

"It's really just about the competition," said director of publicity Tammy Knox.

Local riders competing in the event are Beth Butler, Rhonda Collins, Joddie Fortner, and Cindy Noll. Participants Bonnie Castaneda and Greta Kuntzweiler also ride at Hoosier on occasion. Riders coming in for the event are Jennifer Bramblett, Zoe Cadman, Patricia Cooksey, Mary Doser, and Cindy Medina.

"This event is geared toward reaching out [to people] and gaining outside participation in the racing industry," said Collins, who won last year's challenge. "This is what the sport needs and Hoosier Park has a well- thought-out event planned."

Cindy Noll is fourth on the all-time list of female riders with 1,570 wins. Currently 12th in the local standings with 17 wins, Noll is Hoosier Park's all-time leading female rider and was second in last year's standings. She was a late arrival to this meet because she remained in Iowa to finish out at Prairie Meadows meet - where she shared leading rider honors with Glenn Corbett for her third title at that track.

Noll said she has competed in other female competitions at Albuquerque, Oklahoma, and Houston.

"They're fun to compete in'" Noll said. "Of course you just hope to get the good horses, but it's all in the luck of the draw. In this case it's for a really good cause."

Ladies' Night is part of Lee National Denim Day to benefit breast cancer research - even though the national day was officially Oct. 4

"We were afraid [our event] would get lost in the mix at that time," Knox said.

Patricia Cooksey returned to riding this year after overcoming breast cancer. Cooksey is second on the all-time list of leading female riders with 2,123 wins and is the all-time winningest female rider at Churchill Downs.

Guest panelist Christine Gabriel from Arlington Park has served as a racing commentator for several network broadcasts and is also a breast cancer survivor.

The track's marketing and publicity departments have put together a 24-page booklet that includes biographies on all the female participants and recipes submitted by each. Proceeds from the booklet, which sells for $2, will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. The recipes in the booklet will be featured on the track's menu Friday night.

The night's festivities begin at 5 p.m. Central with a handicapping seminar presented by celebrity guests Jeannine Edwards of ESPN, Margo Flynn of Tampa Bay Downs, an Gabriel.

The riders and celebrity guests also will be treated to brunch and a trip to a local spa for a facial and manicure before the competition.

* Women will be admitted free to Hoosier Park Friday night and will also receive a $2 betting voucher to be used on any of the night's races.

* Next week, in conjunction with the $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Mile, the track will host a "Guys Night Out" with the Budweiser and Jack Daniels girls at the track and an easy-chair giveaway.