12/26/2003 12:00AM

Dorochenko on the verge of a career year as trainer

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ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Gennadi Dorochenko goes into the final days of 2003 with hopes of setting a personal best for winners.

He currently stands ninth in the Golden Gate Fields trainer standings with 6 victories from 22 starts and needs only one victory in the final five racing days of 2003 to record his 15th training win of the year. His current total of 14 matches his previous high, set in 2001.

Dorochenko, 44, a native of Russia, came to the United States as a jockey in 1993. He enjoyed riding success in his native land and Poland.

He began training in 1998 and worked in Maryland before settling in northern California.

The current meet is his best, with 27 percent winners and a $6.23 flat-bet profit on his starters.

He scored with Market Forecast at $59.60 in a $6,250 sprint on Nov. 19. He has won twice with Contexte, at $36.40 for $16,000 and $10 for $32,000. Syn Begone has also won twice for Dorochenko, paying $11.20 in a $3,200 claimer on Dec. 11 and $5 when favored at the same level on Dec. 20. Hunter Royal, 0 for 19, paid $6.80 in finally winning his maiden on Dec. 14.

Dorochenko claimed Hunter Royal on Sept. 3 and saw the noted hanger finish second once and third twice in four starts for him before finally winning.

"I'm a professional," said Dorochenko, who earned a degree from the University of Krasnodar in 1988 in the preparation and training of Thoroughbred horses.

"I have worked seven days a week for 10 years here. I gallop horses myself. It makes a big difference when you're sitting on top of a horse."

His success with Contexte has been particularly satisfying. Contexte started the meeting with a second for a $12,500 tag before his two victories.

"Moving up horses, not too many trainers do it like this," he said.

* Conquestress is the one to beat as nine fillies and mares meet in Sunday's feature, a $50,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Conquestress has won two straight, once on the turf and once on a muddy main track, so she should have no problems if the race is switched to the main track.

* Fifteen have been nominated for the $75,000 Lafayette Handicap at one mile on New Year's Day. Star Cross, Truly a Judge, and Lone Gone Con, who ran one-two-three in the Forty Niner Handicap, are among the nominees. So is Boston Common, winner of the Oakland Handicap, but his trainer, Jeff Mullins, said there is no chance his horse will run.