01/01/2003 1:00AM

Bailey, Frankel steal the show


Jerry Bailey and Bobby Frankel once again were at the forefront of the year's outstanding performers as the books closed on the 2002 racing season.

Bailey, who is the heavy favorite to win his unprecedented sixth Eclipse Award as leading jockey, broke his own record from last year for North American earnings with $19,271,814. Including his victory aboard Street Cry in the Dubai World Cup, Bailey's mounts earned $22,871,814. Bailey also came within one victory of Mike Smith's record of 68 North American stakes wins, set in 1994.

Frankel enjoyed another stellar year in 2002, leading all trainers withearnings of $17,748,340. His total was less than $100,000 shy of D. Wayne Lukas's earnings record, set in 1988. Frankel is the odds-on choice for the trainer Eclipse, which would be his fourth, tying the record held by Laz Barrera and Lukas.

Northern California-based jockey Russell Baze led North America in wins for the seventh time, with 431 victories, almost 100 more than runner-up Cornelio Velasquez. Steve Asmussen edged away late from Scott Lake for most wins by a trainer, 407 to 399.

Among owners, the Stronach Stables of Frank Stronach reclaimed the earnings title with $8,349,249. Stronach was the leading owner in money won from 1998-2000. Richard Englander, who won last year's money title and the Eclipse Award, was the leader in races won with 278.

War Emblem, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, led the earnings list with $3,455,000, including a $1 million bonus for winning the Illinois and Kentucky derbies. Tejano Couture, a $10,000 claimer on the New England circuit, was the winningest horse, with 11 victories from 26 starts.