04/28/2002 11:00PM

Calkins Road scores under Pincay


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A trove of racing history was rediscovered Sunday at Hollywood Park, site of the third annual $1.3 million Gold Rush Day for California-breds.

Memories of three-time Hollywood Gold Cup winner Native Diver were in the air, as were recollections of influential California breeder John Mabee, who died on April 24. And when a 9-year-old gelding scored his 20th career win in a driving finish, he earned a spot alongside inimitable John Henry as the oldest Hollywood stakes winner.

Calkins Road, owned and bred by the grandson of Native Diver owner Louis K. Shapiro, captured the richest race, the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes. Favorite Funtime, owned and bred by the Mabee-founded Golden Eagle Farm, raced gate to wire in the $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes. And, Native Desert was up in the final strides to win the $175,000 TVG/Khaled Stakes at age 9.

"We've dreamt about this moment for a long time," said Tom Shapiro, owner-breeder of Calkins Road. Nearly 35 years, to be precise. Shapiro's childhood memories include accompanying his grandfather to Hollywood Park, where a paddock statue now commemorates Native Diver's consecutive Gold Cup victories, 1965-67. "The saddling spot [for Calkins Road] was right next to the monument, and I asked my brother [Rick] to go over and touch it for good luck. He said, 'It's already been taken care of.' "

Shapiro, whose equipment rental company is busy this week putting up corporate tents at Churchill Downs, entered the breeding business 10 years ago by founding Rocking Horse Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley. The mating of the sire Illinois Storm and the mare Little Code produced Calkins Road.

In making his fifth career start Sunday, Calkins Road was ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr. The colt raced wide while within striking range, took aim at Menacing Dennis, who held a 1 1/2-length lead midstretch, and wore him down in the final strides to win by a head. Calkins Road, trained by John Shirreffs, returned $10.60. He completed the 1 1/8 miles in a moderate 1:51.07. Highly Suspect finished third; 5-2 favorite Gobi Dan ran fourth.

Earlier, the B. Thoughtful Stakes featured a seven-furlong showdown between graded stakes-winning mares Go Go and Favorite Funtime. Go Go was the 3-5 favorite based on her 2001 form, but the B. Thoughtful was her first start in nine months. She pressed the hot fractions, weakened the final furlong, and finished fourth. Instead, it was Favorite Funtime who survived a wicked pace duel to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Song of Summer and third-place finisher Warren's Whistle.

Favorite Funtime is trained by Bob Baffert, whose assistant Tim Yakteen recognized the significance of the victory, four days after her owner-breeder died. "We have to give John [Mabee] a little credit, maybe he was helping us out. The race actually set up for someone else."

Favorite Funtime, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was hounded through fractions of 21.96 and 44.40 seconds before edging away late in 1:22.40 for seven furlongs. Favorite Funtime returned $6.60. A 5-year-old mare by Seeking the Gold, Favorite Funtime was winning for the seventh time in 14 starts.

There were two 9-year-olds in the $175,000 Khaled Stakes - Native Desert and Fit for a King. Class prevailed in the 1 1/16-mile turf race, as Native Desert and Eddie Delahoussaye were up in the final strides to nail pacesetter Hugh Hefner. Fit for a King's seven-race win streak ended when he finished sixth.

Miguel Rubio owns a string of pawn shops in Tijuana, Mexico, and he claimed Native Desert for $32,000 from the gelding's second start Oct. 10, 1996. Nearly six years later, Native Desert is still going strong - the Khaled win was his 20th from 64 starts. "It's been the dream of my life to own a horse like this," Rubio said after Native Desert won the Khaled for the second time (he also won in 1998). Native Desert, a gelding by Desert Classic, has earned more than $1.7 million.

Trained by Juan Garcia and ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye, Native Desert paid $6.40 after winning the race in 1:41.87. Visual Energy finished third; Spinelessjellyfish, who won the Khaled the last two years, finished fourth. For Native Desert, there is no end in sight. Said Garcia: "You're going to see him a few more years. You're going to see him when he's 13."

Smokin' catches breaks

Lightly raced Smokin' Charlotte, victim of an unlucky trip in her last start, caught every break in the $175,000 Fran's Valentine and rolled to a 3 1/2-length win in the turf route for fillies and mares. Under leading rider Victor Espinoza, who won three races Sunday, Smokin' Charlotte outfinished runner-up Stetson Lady; 8-5 favorite Super Tuesday finished third.

Smokin Charlotte ($7.20), making only her 12th career start, has improved since stretching out and switching to grass. A daughter of Red Bishop, she has two wins and a second in four turf routes, and might have toppled open allowance company last time except for traffic trouble. Trained by John Sadler and owned by Edwards, Fast Lane Farms, Watchor, et al., Smokin' Charlotte completed the 1 1/16-mile turf race in 1:41.94.

* Adminniestrator and Eddie Delahoussasye rallied from last to win the $100,000 Quicken Tree, one year after finishing second by a head in the 1 1/2-mile turf race. Turkish Prize finished 1 1/2 lengths back in second; Our Main Man ran third. Adminniestrator was making his second start back for trainer Paddy Gallagher and owner Nico Nierenberg, who claimed the gelding for $50,000 last summer and promptly gave him a year off. Adminniestrator returned $5 for his seventh win in 26 starts. The time for the 1 1/2 miles was 2:02.80.

* Ladylore won the weakest stakes of the day, scoring a $65.40 upset in the $200,000 Melair Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Claimed by for $32,000 last time by trainer Bill Spawr and owner Thomas Wafer, Ladylore won by 1 1/2 lengths over 7-5 favorite Super High. The time of the 1 1/16-mile race was a slow 1:44.88. Calzada Kid finished third; graded stakes winner Bella Bella Bella was rank early and finished fourth. Ladylore was sired by Video Ranger, fourth-place finisher in the 1990 Kentucky Derby.