05/20/2004 11:00PM

Chindi still a threat at 10

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Think of it this way: When Chindi was born, Bill Clinton was starting the second year of his first term as president.

Yes, that is a "10" on his Daily Racing Form past performance data, and yes, that number represents Chindi's age. His color is listed as gray-roan, but the coat is starting to go very much to white.

How long can Chindi's racetrack life go on?

"Until they legally make him stop," said trainer Steve Hobby.

There is a chance Chindi has slowed this season, but not much, and he probably is nowhere near stopping. Sunday at Arlington, Chindi runs in the featured eighth race, a high-class "money-since" allowance with a $100,000 claiming option.

Eight horses were entered in the six-furlong race, and enough of them like to run on the lead that Chindi, a classic stretch-running sprinter, has a good chance to win for the 18th time in his career.

To go with his 17 wins are 13 seconds and 18 thirds, and a bankroll less than $50,000 from the $1 million mark. Chindi has rolled through the accomplishments with pleasure.

"He loves it out there," Hobby said. "He can't wait to get to the racetrack every morning."

Chindi is winless in four starts this season, but hasn't been worse than third. Hobby will concede the possibility that decline has set in.

"Maybe," Hobby said, "but he's had some excuses, too."

Chindi has only one season on Magic Doe, who also is indefinitely postponing equine middle age. On May 1, Magic Doe finished fourth in the $50,000 Prairie Express at Prairie Meadows, his first start of 2004 and first since his 92-year-old trainer Jim Eckrosh, retired. Jim McCoy now trains Magic Doe.

Both Magic Doe and Silver Bid are prepping for the White Oak Handicap, an Illinois-bred stakes race in June. Silver Bid will be part of the pace from his inside post, with Rock County and Gold Taker forcing the action and Without a Doubt stalking. Without a Doubt is a sharp horse, and figures to make the lead somewhere in the stretch, though Silver Bid fights hard. Chindi will be coming late, and to win he might have to fight off another deep closer, Silver Zipper - just a babe in arms at age 7.