06/09/2002 11:00PM

Everything's hunky-Jory

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - In the midst of one of his stable's best years, trainer Ian Jory gave himself Sunday afternoon off take his daughter Chloe sightseeing in New York City.

The day out helped explain the poor reception on his mobile phone.

"Sorry about that," he said. "I'm just stepping off the boat at the Statue of Liberty," he said.

Even without the sightseeing, Jory could be in the midst of a memorable June. Over the weekend at Belmont Park, Explicit won his third stakes of the year in the $250,000 True North Breeders' Cup Handicap. This Saturday at Hollywood Park, Jory starts Continental Red in the $350,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park, one of the day's three major stakes.

Through Sunday, Jory's stable has earned $1,057,374 this year, the seventh time in his career he has passed the $1 million mark. With Explicit and Continental Red in top form, Jory's starters could surpass the personal best of $1.5 million set in 1990, when the division was led by the 2-year-old Best Pal.

Continental Red is a contender in an open running of the Whittingham, contested over 1 1/4 miles on turf. Earlier this year at Santa Anita, Continental Red won the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes, finished second by a nose in the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes, second by a neck in the Grade 2 San Luis Obisbo Handicap, and third in the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap.

The 6-year-old Continental Red was beaten 6 1/2 lengths by Ringaskiddy in the San Juan Capistrano over about 1 3/4 miles on turf.

"I think the distance might have been too far," Jory said. "I think a mile and a quarter is right up his alley. After that race, I decided to give him a break. Everything worked out because there wasn't too much to run him in."

Continental Red worked five furlongs on turf in 1:01.40 on Sunday. Owned by Sharon Fitzpatrick, Continental Red will face a top field in the Whittingham. Aside from Ringaskiddy, the probables include Cagney, Denon, Night Patrol, Sarafan, and Skipping, all of whom are stakes winners in the last year.

During this successful year for Continental Red, races such as the Grade 1 Whittingham have added importance. He is not Breeders' Cup-eligible. "I was heartbroken when I found out," Jory said.

Instead, races such as the Arlington Million are part of long-term goals. Such races are a far cry from the minor stakes and allowance races that Continental Red started in last year on his way to a modest record of one victory in 12 starts.

"I think he's a little mature," Jory said, explaining the difference. "He was running second or third in the allowances and there were decent horses in there. He's outlasted a lot of horses."

Milwaukee Brew heads Californian

Aside from the Whittingham, Saturday's program features the $500,000 Californian Stakes over 1 1/8 miles and the $250,000 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks over 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-old fillies.

Milwaukee Brew, the winner of the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap last March, heads a Californian Stakes that is expected to include Bosque Redondo, Investor's Dream, Lethal Instrument, Momentum, Pie n Burger, Reba's Gold, and Redattore. The Californian is a prep to the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 14.

The Oaks is not as strong. Adoration, the winner of the Senorita Stakes on turf last month, will face Ile de France, Ladylore, Respectful, Saint Bernadette and Super High.

Bay Meadows Sprint looming large

The win by Explicit emphasized the strength of the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint Handicap on May 11.

Swept Overboard, the Southern California invader who finished third, returned to win the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 27. Explicit finished second in the race.

Race winner Mellow Fellow has changed ownership since the Bay Meadows race, his sixth consecutive win. A 7-year-old, Mellow Fellow was consigned to the Barretts May Sale as part of the Bart Heller estate dispersal on May 13, but was not sold. He was later acquired by Sid and Jenny Craig and transferred to trainer Bill Spawr.

Mellow Fellow is being pointed for the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap on July 6, Spawr said.

"He's a neat horse with a lot of personality," Spawr said.

The Triple Bend may include Swept Overboard.

Jory said that Explicit will not start in the Triple Bend, but will be pointed for the Forego Handicap at Saratoga on Sept. 1. "He's great physically," Jory said.

Northern conquest

For years, trainers in Southern California have traveled north to plunder stakes at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields. Last Friday, northern trainer Chuck Peery returned the favor when Slewsbox pulled an upset in the $107,100 Desert Stormer Handicap.

Ridden by Laffit Pincay, Jr. Slewsbox set torrid fractions of 21.56 and 43.43 seconds, led by 2 1/2 lengths to the eighth pole and was all-out to hold off Kalookan Queen, the 7-10 favorite. Slewsbox ($20.20) carried 117 pounds, six fewer than Kalookan Queen, and finished six furlongs in 1:09.57.

Go Go, the defending champion, was last of six and bled from her lungs, according to trainer Warren Stute.

The Grade 3 Desert Stormer Handicap was Slewsbox's graded stakes debut. The Desert Stormer was her sixth stakes win in the last seven starts over a 22-month span for owners Leonard Dunham and Jerome Gardipee.

"She's had numerous small problems," Peery said. "Because of the quality of horse she is, I talked the owners into waiting. They've had remarkable patience. We've given this filly the time, and at this point she's the best she's ever been."

The Desert Stormer was the first time that Peery and Pincay had teamed to win a stakes.

"I was in awe when I was in the paddock shaking the guy's hand," Peery said. "He's one of the superstars of the business."

3,000 at Hollywood for Pincay

Pincay reached a milestone on Saturday when he won his 3,000th race at Hollywood Park aboard Hotel Hall in the second race. He later won two more races on the program.

Pincay, 55, was pleased that the milestone occurred on Saturday, a day he chose to ride at Hollywood Park and not travel to Belmont Park to ride the longshot Like a Hero in the Belmont Stakes. Like a Hero finished seventh in the Belmont Stakes.

If Pincay had traveled to New York, he would have missed the ride on Slewsbox. Through Sunday, Pincay was second in the jockey's standings behind Patrick Valenzuela, 44-33.

Gentlemen has first winner

Gentlemen's Club gave freshman stallion Gentlemen his first winner with his first starter in Sunday's fifth race.

Ridden by Alex Solis for trainer Richard Mandella, Gentlemen's Club broke from the rail, steadied at the top of the stretch and rallied in the final furlong to catch Macho Image, the 9-5 favorite. Gentlemen's Club finished five furlongs in 59 seconds.

Gentlemen's Club is owned by Connie Sczesny and R.D. Hubbard. Hubbard is the former chairman of Hollywood Park who campaigned Gentlemen in the late 1990's.

"The horse wants more distance," Hubbard said of Gentlemen's Club. "We were very pleased. I thought he showed a lot of guts."

Gentlemen stands at Walmac International in Lexington, Ky. Bred in Argentina, Gentlemen won 13 of 24 starts, 11 stakes and $3,608,558. The champion 3-year-old colt in Argentina, he won seven stakes in the United States, including the Pacific Classic, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pimlico Special in 1997.