07/31/2001 11:00PM

Fairmount Park

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Apprentice jockey Argelio "Gino" Velazquez won his first career race in last Friday's second race at Fairmount Park aboard West Lakeshore.

Velazquez, a native of Cuernavaca, Mexico, is already well known to local horsemen after working for five years as an exercise rider for trainers Eddie Essenpreis and Jimmy Zook, as well as riding county fairs. Fittingly, it was Essenpreis who gave the 25-year-old Velazquez the leg up on his first winner.

* Jerry Hammond claimed the speedy Gotabuck in March on behalf of Eddie Lacey and Benita Simmons and has found a niche for him in races ranging from two furlongs to 4 1/2 furlongs. Last Friday, the 7-year-old Gotabuck won his fourth straight under regular rider Marcial Campos, this time at a half-mile.

* Dr. Donald Griffin's homebred, State Flag, proved he is currently the top 2-year-old on the grounds Tuesday when he overcame a troubled start to win going away in allowance company under John Woodley. Trained by Jim Boehm, State Flag won his maiden last time out in allowance company.

* Players aware of how first-time Lasix can help a horse achieve his true potential got a bargain payoff in Tuesday's Missouri Brave Handicap. Sam R., who had been stakes-placed in previous years, bled last time out for trainer Bill Duncan and came roaring back for a $29.40 payoff under Gabe Retana as an obviously huge overlay.