08/12/2002 11:00PM

Eddie D. still riding less, but he's winning more

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DEL MAR, Calif. - When Hot War scored a front-running victory in Monday's $100,000 Real Good Deal Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds, he gave jockey Eddie Delahoussaye his 15th win of the meet, tying him for second with Laffit Pincay Jr., just three behind the leader, Patrick Valenzuela. Considering that Delahoussaye rides far fewer horses than anyone else in the top five this meet, his position in the standings is remarkable.

"It's unbelievable," said Delahoussaye, who was at the track on Del Mar's dark day, Tuesday. "The only thing I'm doing different is working a little more in the morning than at Hollywood. All of a sudden, people want my services."

Delahoussaye has worked well in tandem with trainer Warren Stute. In addition to winning with Hot War, they also captured the San Diego Handicap with Grey Memo.

"Warren Stute's going to keep me around another 20 years," said Delahoussaye, a 50-year-old Hall of Famer.

"When you're on the right horses, you can ride a great race, and you ride with confidence," Delahoussaye added. "I know this game has ups and downs. I take it the way it comes. But I'd rather it be this way, because it's fun."

Even though he is near the top of the standings, Delahoussaye has no interest in ratcheting up his workload to contend for leading rider. He is content to ride an average of three or four horses a day.

"We could ride $10,000 claimers and maiden claimers, but we don't work that way," said Delahoussaye's agent, Ray Kravagna.

War Emblem still on fence for Classic

War Emblem had a routine gallop late Tuesday morning, and could work Wednesday. He has not had a workout since winning the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 4. War Emblem is expected to make his next start in Del Mar's Pacific Classic on Aug. 25, but trainer Bob Baffert has not ruled out the Aug. 24 Travers at Saratoga.

"The Travers is the easier spot, but it's tough to do a double ship," Baffert said. "I've got until the 20th to make up my mind. That's when the bus leaves."

A large field is in line for the Pacific Classic. Sky Jack and Momentum, the one-two finishers in the Hollywood Gold Cup, are scheduled to run in the race, along with Came Home, Grey Memo, and the Bobby Frankel-trained pair of Euchre and Milwaukee Brew. Frankel has won the Pacific Classic six times.

Sky Jack worked six furlongs in 1:17 here on Sunday, the slowest of 12 works at the distance, but his trainer, Doug O'Neill, said he wanted a slow work.

"He worked by himself, which is what I want to do if he's dead fit and he doesn't need a big work," O'Neill said.

O'Neill said Sky Jack would work again Sunday, and that jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. would be up for the drill.

Arbiter, who won the Kobuk King on the turf earlier this meet, may have earned his way into the race with a brilliant seven-furlong workout on Monday in 1:23.80 for trainer Craig Lewis.

Disturbingthepeace set for Crosby

Disturbingthepeace, who won the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap earlier this meet, heads the prospective field for Sunday's Pat O'Brien Handicap at seven furlongs.

His rivals are expected to include I Love Silver, Impressive Grades, Komax, Lebontempsroulet, and Mellow Fellow, and possibly Blu Air Force and Reba's Gold. Mellow Fellow worked a half-mile in 46.40 seconds Tuesday morning.

I Love Silver worked on the turf on Monday, covering five furlongs around the dogs in 1:01.20.

Dean Greenman, the trainer of I Love Silver, said he prefers to work I Love Silver on the turf when at Del Mar.

"He's not the strongest behind," Greenman said. "It helps his back. Plus, there's less traffic than on the main track."

Saturday's $150,000 La Jolla Handicap for 3-year-old turf runners features the Bob Baffert-trained pair of Mountain Rage and Regiment. David Flores and Victor Espinoza will ride the Baffert runners, but Baffert had yet to decide which jockey would be on which horse.

Others scheduled for the La Jolla include Doc Holliday, Inesperado, and Mutinyonthebounty, and possibly Battler Bob and Doc's Allowance.

It's Plan A after all

Trainer Ben Cecil nearly had to improvise to prepare Golden Apples the way he wanted for Saturday's Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park, but in the end Cecil was able to stick to the schedule he preferred.

Cecil had planned on working Golden Apples on the turf Wednesday, then shipping her on Thursday to Arlington. To keep the spacing ideal, he worked her last Thursday on the turf. Then Cecil found out on Monday that the travel plans had changed, and that all horses from California bound for Chicago were leaving one day earlier, on Wednesday morning, on a charter.

Since the turf course is closed for works on Tuesdays, and since Cecil was not about to work Golden Apples on the main track, he faced the possibility of skipping a final scheduled workout.

"I'll give her a good, long gallop, but I wish someone had told me sooner. It's kind of a bad deal," Cecil said when he first thought Golden Apples had to leave on Wednesday. "I've never worked this filly on dirt, and it's not something I want to do five days out from a $700,000 race. I was only going to work her a half-mile, so I'll give her a two-mile gallop instead."

Cecil spent Monday afternoon working the phones, and by Tuesday morning he had found a solution. While horses such as Astra, who is running in the Beverly D., and Beat Hollow and Sarafan, who are running in the Arlington Million, will leave as scheduled on Wednesday, Golden Apples will travel alone on another charter on Thursday. So, she will be able to work on the turf on Wednesday.

Cecil is happy with the progress Golden Apples has made since she finished second in the Ramona Handicap earlier this meet. "She's come on a lot," he said. "She looked skinny and light. The main thing was to get weight on her, and that's worked."

* A number of local riders will be out of town this weekend. Mike Smith will be at Saratoga on Saturday and Sunday. Corey Nakatani and Pat Valenzuela are riding at Arlington on Saturday.

* After 18 days at the meet, Baffert leads the trainers' standings with 10 victories, one more than Bill Spawr.