09/26/2004 11:00PM

Better luck could mean better meet for Goodridge


CHICAGO - When you go weeks without winning, a four-month race meet can seem like a long time. For trainer Ron Goodridge, the 2004 Arlington season might have seemed interminable. But when it finally ended, so did his slump.

Goodridge, 7 for 106 at the just-concluded Arlington meeting, won the first race of Hawthorne's fall-winter meet Friday. In fact, the Goodridge stable won with its first two starters over the weekend, and, with luck, it might have won two more races Sunday.

"How about that, after Arlington?" Goodridge said. "Boy, that was a terrible meet."

Several years ago, Goodridge had a regional standout named Brother Brown and more recently a nice horse named Man o'Rhythm, but higher-class runners have not regularly passed through his barn. One of the best of the current bunch is a 5-year-old gelding named Did He Biteyou, who could keep Goodridge's roll going in Hawthorne's featured fourth race Wednesday.

Did He Biteyou was one of six horses entered in this six-furlong sprint for fourth-level allowance horses or $50,000 claimers. Did He Biteyou runs under allowance conditions this time. Since he was beaten a head for a $50,000 tag last out at Arlington, and has won four of his eight starts at Hawthorne, you can see why Goodridge, who also owns Did He Biteyou, wants to keep him around.

"He's really a solid little horse," Goodridge said. "He got [the neurological disorder] EPM last year, and it took him nine or 10 months to get over that."

In eight starts in 2004, Did He Biteyou has finished second twice and has been third four times. With a little more luck and a bit more stretch punch, he'd be a multiple winner this year. Did He Biteyou is mostly speed, and his problem has been sustaining it to the finish. Sometimes, though, the Hawthorne surface helps a horse like that, and Did He Biteyou has post 2 and the shortest path to the inside.

"The rail seems to have gotten good," Goodridge said Monday. "If they keep it that way, we'd have a decent chance."

That only works if Did He Biteyou can outrace Fifteen Rounds for the lead, and Fifteen Rounds is a fast horse. Fifteen Rounds has had a disappointing year, but broke through with a win Aug. 20, when he dropped into a $50,000 claimer at Arlington. He is the front-end threat for trainer Christine Janks, who also entered Manitowish. Manitowish and Stratematic would be the beneficiaries if Did He Biteyou and Fifteen Rounds go toe-to-toe during the race's first half-mile.