08/13/2004 11:00PM

Carr back home and riding high

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Jockey Dennis Carr has been making up for lost time at the Bay Meadows fair meet.

The hottest jockey in the first three days of the meet, Carr won on each of his three mounts on opening day, Wednesday, and two of his three mounts Thursday. Through Friday, he had seven wins in 12 starts with a pair of seconds and a third.

Carr's hot start came in his first mounts since the end of the Bay Meadows meet on June 20, and after Carr spent a tumultuous summer in New York.

Carr, 36, didn't plan to spend the summer on the East Coast. He went to New York after the Bay Meadows meet concluded and returned two days before the Pleasanton meet was to open on June 30. Little did he realize when he returned home to California that he would spend only one night in the state.

"My fiancee's mother had to have surgery," he said. "As soon as my plane touched down, I called her and found out there had been complications from the surgery. I flew back the next day and ended up spending the whole summer there."

The mother of Carr's fiancee died 10 days after the surgery.

When Carr's parents came to New York from Florida for a visit, Carr and his fiancee, Alisa, decided to get married. After the wedding, they spent several weeks packing to move her household items to a new home they had purchased in the Bay Area.

Dennis and Alisa have known each other for 13 years and had been engaged for two years. The two had maintained a long-distance relationship, flying back and forth to visit one another.

Because he didn't ride over the summer, Carr, who had finished fifth in the jockey standings at the Bay Meadows spring meet, did a lot of bicycling and skating in New York to keep his legs strong.

"I've always been the kind of person who likes to get out of the house and do things," he said.

He's come back at the top of his game.

"It was a tough summer, but now I'm back in a place where I know I want to be," he said. "I guess I recharged my batteries. I've come back fresh and itching to go."