08/28/2001 11:00PM

DRF's around the ovals

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'Phantom' shadow of old self

One-time stakes star Phantom on Tour, attempting a comeback after being sidelined for nearly three years, didn't fare well in his return to the races.

Entered in a six-furlong optional claiming sprint for a tag of $14,000 last Friday night at Penn National, Phantom on Tour beat only one horse in a nine-horse field.

Now 7 years old and trained by James Hinerdeer, Phantom on Tour was one of the nation's top horses in 1997 and 1998 when he was in the barn of Lynn Whiting. Phantom on Tour finished second in the 1997 Arkansas Derby and finished sixth, seven lengths behind Silver Charm, in that year's Kentucky Derby.

As a 4-year-old, he won the Grade 3 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds and was third in the Grade 1 Oaklawn Handicap. Before coming to Penn National, Phantom on Tour had not raced since November 1998.

* If Penn State wins its football game against Miami on Saturday night, all fans 18 and older who paid admission to the track will be able to redeem a coupon for a $5 wagering voucher good any day between Sept. 2 and Sept. 22. Drawings will be conducted throughout Saturday night's card for prizes that include tickets for Penn State football games against Michigan and Ohio State.

- Joe DeVivo

Charles Town

Sweet Annuity solidified her status as the early favorite for the $150,000 Cavada Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 13 by scoring a wire-to-wire 3 1/4-length victory in last Saturday's $35,000 Sadie Hawkins Stakes, a seven-furlong race for West Virginia-breds.

* Value-oriented players had only to focus on route races last week. Of the 11 races contested at 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 miles, Girls Girls Girls and Sonny's Chance were the only favorites to win. Seven of the other eight winners were 5-1 or higher, with the average win mutuel $23.80.

- Joe DeVivo

Columbus

COLUMBUS, Neb. - Don Herber, fourth in the standings at Columbus with 10 wins, received a 30-day suspension last Friday for the presence of a controlled substance in his system, effectively ending his meet here.

Alejandro "Alex" Granda arrived from Canterbury Park last week and collected two wins over the weekend.

Jorge Collazo Jr. arrives this weekend from Prairie Meadows to boost a colony that has less than 15 active riders.

* Jerry Carkeek has taken control of the rider standings, moving out to a 30-19 lead over Armando Martinez. Carkeek padded his lead by riding the first four winners on last Saturday's eight-race card.

- Bill Hodtwalker

Fairmount

Three horses finished heads apart in Tuesday's $15,000, one-mile Spend a Buck Handicap for 3-year-old colts and geldings at Fairmount Park.

De Ghost ($30.20) snuck through on the inside under Steve Capeles to be up at the wire. American Czar just missed in second and heavily favored W W Robin de Hood was third in a game effort. Trained by Sue Irion, De Ghost got the mile in 1:41.0 for his second career win.

Also on Tuesday, Vincente Flores rode three winners to take a 93-92 lead over Tommy Pompeii in the rider standings. Pompeii has been riding at Ellis Park since July.

* Fairmount welcomed a new face to the jockey colony when Wendy Dean brought her tack to town. Dean, 30, who has been riding for 12 years, suffered a broken shoulder last August while riding in Nebraska and has been working horses in Texas to prepare for her return.

- Rod Peck

Great Lakes Downs

MUSKEGON, Mich. - Jockey Mary Doser, leading rider at Great Lakes Downs in the 1999 inaugural meeting, had a four-bagger Monday, including a win in the $50,000 Michigan Breeders' Governor's Cup Handicap aboard That Monetary ($16.40).

That Monetary, a 6-year-old son of Monetary Gift and That's My Gal, got up late to win by a neck over his full brother, the 4-year-old That Gift, who is twice a Michigan champion. The winning time of 1:47.28 was a track record for 1 1/16 miles.

Trainer Bob Miller and his wife, Delphine, bred both runners at their Clarkston, Michigan farm. Delphine owns That Gift, and her daughter Susan Daly owns That Monetary. Both horses were led into the winner's circle for the photo.

That Monetary wasn't the only record setter this week. Lite Up, owned by Peter Verbanic and Philip Ober of Schmoopy fame, sped seven furlongs in 1:25.84 in last Sunday's fifth race. Buddy Mullins trains Lite Up.

- C. A. Shoemaker

Louisiana Downs

A steady diet of short fields, the powerful stable of Cole Norman, and the season-long roll that Kirk LeBlanc has been on has chalk players getting fat at the midway point of the meeting at Louisiana Downs.

The public choices have been winning at a 40 percent clip during the first 40 days of the season. Norman has been responsible for many, as the three-time defending champ is well on his way to another title. The barn has won 49 races from 136 starters for a remarkable 36 percent.

Another 52 of his runners have finished either second or third for a 75 in-the-money percentage. Norman's success has been reflected on the tote board as well as his average winner has paid less than 8-5.

Anthony Lovato, the leading rider here last year, has been on board for most of Norman's winners. The two have teamed up in the winner's circle over 30 times with the average winner paying less than $5.

- Jeff Taylor

Philadelphia Park

Sport d'Hiver shaved a few hundredths of a second off the turf course record at Philadelphia Park for about five furlongs while winning last Sunday's sixth race.

A 9-year-old gelding trained by Gaston Sandoval, Sport d'Hiver covered the distance - estimated because the rail was set out 22 feet from its original position - in 56.61 seconds. Devereux set the old record of 56.67 on July 25, 2000.

It was the 17th career win for Sport d'Hiver and boosted his career earnings to just over $400,000.

* The Pennsylvania Racing Commission has approved six additional days of live racing. Four added racing days - Oct. 20-23 - will shorten the scheduled dark period in October from two weeks to one week. Two usually dark days, Wednesday and Thursday, will be added in December, immediately after Christmas Day.

- Joe DeVivo

Yavapai Downs

The inaugural meet at Yavapai Downs is winding down, with the final day of live racing on Tuesday.

Yavapai Downs turned up the heat last week by scheduling three stakes.

Roberto's Lion, under Anna Barrio, won Saturday's George Goswick Memorial. Trained by Raul Hernandez, who is in the running for leading trainer honors at the meet, Roberto's Lion covered the 870 yards in a snappy 44.86 seconds.

The six-furlong Yavapai Downs Handicap, also on Saturday's card, was won by the pacesetter, Stormy Ambition, who stopped the timer in 1:08.90. Leading rider Steve Gomez piloted Stormy Ambition.

The Willow Lake Handicap for fillies and mares on Tuesday was won by northern California invader Moonlit Maddie, who was ridden by O. A. Martinez. The final time for the mile was 1:38.60.

* Sunday is fan appreciation day. The first 500 adults through the turnstiles will receive a free pair of Coors/Yavapai Downs binoculars. Admission is free all weekend.

- Karen M. Johnson