09/01/2004 11:00PM

Dominant team eyes sweep


It is almost impossible to handicap Retama Park near San Antonio without considering horses trained by Danny Pish and ridden by Roman Chapa. The men have dominated the meet, and will team together Saturday night with top contenders in the two richest open-company stakes of the season: the $100,000 Ketel One El Joven and the $100,000 M2 Technology La Senorita.

A pair of turf routes for 2-year-olds, Pish and Chapa are capable of winning both divisions. Leaving on My Mind brings established class into the El Joven, having placed in two stakes, while Spin Jazz Baby can improve her career record to 3 for 3 in the La Senorita.

Both horses will have to negotiate full fields to get the job done. The El Joven drew 12 colts and geldings and the La Senorita attracted 11 fillies. The size of the fields should make for a competitive regional pick four that Retama is putting on in conjunction with Evangeline Downs in Lafayette, La.

The wager consists of the sixth, seventh, and eighth races from Retama, as well as the ninth from Evangeline, the Matron Stakes.

At Retama, Pish leads the trainer standings by 19 wins, while Chapa was 18 wins ahead of his nearest rival in the jockey standings as of Thursday. Together, they have won more than 280 races together, with one of their latest success stories being Spin Jazz Baby.

She won her debut in a 7 1/2-furlong turf race at Retama on July 30, then returned to easily win the prep for the La Senorita on Aug. 13.

"She's certainly given a good account of herself in her only two outs, so we're optimistic about her chances," said Pish, who trains Spin Jazz Baby, a daughter of Spinning World, for Sandra Munn.

Spin Jazz Baby, who has used stalking tactics in her races, has not only shown a physical talent for racing. She also has a good mental attitude, said Pish.

"She has so much class and is so laid back it makes me nervous," he said.

The chief threat to Spin Jazz Baby appears to be Ready to Live. She won the $50,000 Rebel at 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt two starts ago, and in her last out made her turf debut against Spin Jazz Baby.

"She had a pretty tough trip and managed to close late and finish second," said Mark Martinez, a co-owner of Ready to Live and president of race sponsor M2 Technology.

"She didn't break real alert, got forced wide on the first turn, and was as far as [10] lengths off the lead on the backstretch. She made up a lot of ground to finish second."

Martinez decided to sponsor the La Senorita when planning a corporate party to coincide with the race because it was the goal for Ready to Live. M2 Technology sells computer systems and is based in San Antonio.

Leaving on My Mind will be one of the top choices in the El Joven. He was second to the undefeated Expect Will in two stakes this past summer at Lone Star Park, and in his most recent start, he won his maiden on turf and around two turns by a length at Retama on Aug. 22.

"The other day, Roman and I both felt he had more there," said Pish. "He really just did enough to beat them. He's got a little bit of that personality."

Malanato invades from Evangeline, and he could go favored in the El Joven after winning the allowance prep for the race Aug. 14. The allowance was his two-turn and turf debut, and he won by a half-length under regular rider Marlon St. Julien.

Malanato is the winningest member of the field, with a 3 for 4 record for trainer Kearney Segura.

The forecast for Saturday is for partly cloudy skies with a high of 91 and a low of 71.