02/04/2004 1:00AM

Down to 4 horses, Araya call it quits


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Rene Araya, a regular on the New York circuit for the past 12 years, said the economics of the business have forced him to quit training.

Araya, 60, is down to four horses in his Belmont Park barn and expects to lose those horses by the end of the week. Earlier in the week, eight horses owned by Araya's main client for the past four years, Paul Pompa Jr., were given to other trainers or sent to the farm. Araya said Pat Reynolds received four horses and Gary Sciacca two, and that two horses were shipped to a farm in Ocala, Fla.

Araya said he was in financial straits and was thankful that Pompa had kept the horses with him as long as he did.

"He went along as far as he could with me to help me survive," Araya said. "This business is very tough, with all the things you have to pay, like payroll taxes. I was able to pay some bills, but not all."

Araya, a native of Chile, will become a jockey's agent, a job he held for several years in the late 1970's. Araya said he will book mounts for a veteran New York jockey and an apprentice from Panama, but declined to reveal the names of those riders.

"I will hold a press conference soon to tell the [media]," Araya said.

When he was an agent, Araya booked mounts for Ronnie Franklin, John Adams, and Hector Pila, among others.

Among the stakes winners trained by Araya were T Storm, Nappelon, Mckaymackenna, Textbook Method, and Standswithafist.

Last year, Araya had only nine wins from 114 starters. This year, he had one winner from 18 starters. Araya, who saddled his first winner in 1985 at Monmouth Park, retires with a lifetime record of 297 winners from 2,253 starters, according to Equibase statistics. His runners earned $7,891,357.

Bossanova eyes Hollie Hughes

Bossanova, a strong contender for the New York-bred championship sprinter title, might make his 4-year-old debut in the $75,000 Hollie Hughes Handicap on Feb. 15.

Bossanova won the Grade 3 Fall Highweight in his last start on Nov. 27. He also won the first leg of the Big Apple Triple last year, the Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park.

Bossanova is training in Florida at Palm Meadows. His trainer, Jim Bond, said the weather in New York would play a part in whether to run Bossanova in the restricted Hollie Hughes.

"I'll look at the weights and the weather, especially the weather, and play it by ear," Bond said from Florida. "He hasn't missed a beat training, and I'm really pleased with him at this point."

Bossanova worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 at Palm Meadows on Monday. Bond said the colt has been training steadily since Jan. 1.

Bond's first major objective this year for Bossanova is the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on April 10.

Rodeo Licious arrives at Belmont

Rodeo Licious, who hasn't run since winning the Fashion Stakes last June at Belmont Park, is a possible starter for the $75,000 Dearly Precious on Feb. 14.

A New York-bred 3-year-old filly, Rodeo Licious arrived in trainer Bruce Levine's Belmont Park barn on Monday from Louisiana, where she was in training with Carl DeVille, her trainer last year.

Rodeo Licious won the Fashion in her fourth start and came out of the race with an ankle chip that was surgically removed.

Levine originally had the filly in his barn last November, but he sent her back to DeVille.

"I had her for about 30 days or three weeks," Levine said. "The weather was rotten and I figured she would get ready faster in Louisiana."

Levine said he wouldn't make a final decision on whether Rodeo Licious, who is owned by Our Blue Streaks Stable, will run in the Dearly Precious until he works her this weekend.

"We'll see where we are after the work," Levine said. "She's a big, good-looking filly, and very fast."

If Rodeo Licious runs in the Dearly Precious, Levine will be listed as the trainer. Levine said he was uncertain whether Rodeo Licious would remain with him for the rest of the year or go back to DeVille.

Becky in Pink runs Friday

Becky in Pink couldn't quite match strides with Island Sand in the stretch of a first-level allowance race on Dec. 27. Becky in Pink finished third, beaten a length by Island Sand, who won that race and then won the Busanda Stakes in her next start.

Becky in Pink makes her first start since running against Island Sand in Friday's eighth race, a $44,000 allowance race at 1 1/16 miles, and is among the top contenders in the nine-horse field of 3-year-old fillies.

Becky in Pink drew post 4, outside of Lure of Gold and Georgetown Gal, who are the likely pacesetters.

Showmesomelove, who has been working fantastically at Belmont Park, stretches out after a big win at six furlongs on Jan.