11/15/2006 1:00AM

Berry having his best season yet


Jockey Cliff Berry has been on a roll for the past decade, racking up 10 titles at his home track at Remington Park, where he is the all-time leading rider. But no year has been more significant in Berry's career than 2006. He reached the 3,000-win milestone in September, has already set a personal record for mount earnings in a year with $4.4 million, and will head to Churchill Downs next week to ride Going Ballistic in the Grade 2, $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

"It's the best year I've had," said Berry, 44. "I won more races last year, maybe, but I won some quality races this year, some big stakes. The Silverbulletday at the Fair Grounds meet and the derby here - moneywise, those were the biggest stakes I'd ever won."

Berry began his year with a win aboard Baghdaria in the Grade 3, $269,200 Silverbulletday. Last month, he captured his second Oklahoma Derby, riding Mr. Pursuit to victory in the $275,100 race at Remington.

"That was very exciting," Berry said. "When you come into a meet, that's the biggest race of the meet and that's the one you'd like to win."

A month earlier, Berry had collected the 3,000th Thoroughbred win of his career aboard Duh Nutts in the $50,000 Oklahoma Classics Juvenile on Sept. 30. Another of his 2-year-old stakes winners has been Going Ballistic, with whom he has won the $100,000 MEC Mile at Remington and the $100,000 El Joven at Retama.

"He's just done an exceptional job," trainer Donnie Von Hemel said of Berry's rides on Going Ballistic, a late-runner. "Cliff wins races everywhere he goes. [You] put a good rider on a good horse and hope for the best, and it's worked out well for us."

Berry, who earlier this year won the Lone Star Park title while setting a track record for jockey wins in a meet, leads the Remington standings by 18 wins. He said he will take most of December off following the close of Remington on Nov. 28, then gear up for Oaklawn.

Moss and Morse own the claim box

No owner or trainer has been more active at the claiming box this meet than Maggi Moss, the leading owner by wins in North America, and trainer Randy Morse, who returned to Remington Park this meet for the first time in over a decade. Moss and Morse have claimed 20 horses since the Remington season opened in August, ranging in prices from $7,500 to $30,000.

In total, Moss has spent $227,000 on horses so far this meet, more than 20 percent of the meet's total claim transactions of $1,056,500. Overall, there have been 124 claims made this season at Remington.

"She's great for the game," said Morse.

Morse said the increase in purses at Remington, which opened a casino in November 2005, was one of the reasons he returned to the track following a long absence.

"I came here the first year they ran," he said of Remington. "I stayed around here for five or six years."

Morse then resumed wintering in Kentucky, but is back at Remington this year because purses have about doubled, he has longtime clients in the region, and the meet falls in line with his next stop, Oaklawn.

"The purses, with them getting up like this, it's the best move I've made," he said of Remington. "I've picked up some clients."

Moss, who races horses around the country, was one of those clients. Both she and Morse rank among the top 10 in their respective standings at the meet, where the owner and trainer ranks have been tightly bunched. Some of the horses Moss and Morse have claimed are being freshened for Oaklawn.

* Notable Okie, who was up for a nose win in an optional claimer Nov.o10, could make his next start in the $75,000 Governor's Cup here Nov. 28, said Von Hemel.