11/04/2002 12:00AM

Game Bird caps 5-win feast

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CHICAGO - When entries for Hawthorne's Saturday card came out, you got the distinct feeling trainer Mike Reavis meant business.

Reavis, who, often has been the leading trainer at Hawthorne, had seven horses in six of the day's 10 races. After slogging through a tough Arlington meet, all signs pointed to an impending breakout from his barn. His first entrant was Gamer, who won the second race. Two horses in the third race on turf struggled on the surface and went unplaced. Lindholm won the fourth, Drummer Ken followed by winning the fifth, and Reavis had already put together a great day. Not Happening took the ninth.

In the 10th, Reavis had Game Bird, who was beaten more than 50 lengths in his last start in June, but who could stop Reavis now? Game Bird won, too, paying $24.20 and giving Reavis an improbable five-win day that was a Hawthorne record.

"The horses were all good. I can't predict the order of finish, but the horses were all in the right spots on the right day," Reavis said Monday.

Amazingly, none of Reavis's winners was a heavy favorite.

Before Game Bird's longshot score, the other four winners all paid between $9 and $10. Game Bird's starter allowance win represented a fine piece of training, but in other cases, Reavis had managed physical problems and entered his runners aggressively.

"Like Wayne Catalano said to me, it's real tough to win on a level playing field," Reavis said. "If you tip the table a little to one side, you can't win them all, but you can do a little better. To win five of them in a row, well, I know I've lost more than five in a row."

Reavis figures to have a strong meet. Rather than run his stock down at the more competitive Arlington meet, he preserved many of his horses for Hawthorne. "Catalano and [owner Frank] Calabrese make it tough over at Arlington," Reavis said "I've got 40-some head [horses] back there now. We should be okay."

Sherry Spinner must be caught

The large field sizes of Hawthorne's three-day opening week haven't diminished yet. Wednesday's nine-race program drew an average of more than 10 horses per race, and full fields of 12 were entered in three races.

The featured ninth, a second-level turf allowance for fillies and mares, got 11 entries, and there is quality to go along with numbers. Sherry Spinner gets top billing in the one-mile race, and not just because she's housed in the potent stable of trainer Wayne Catalano.

Hawthorne's grass course appears to be in great shape for this time of year, but has distinctly favored speed thus far. Fast fractions haven't hampered pace horses, and early leaders, such as Kimberlite Pipe in Saturday's Carey Memorial, have stuck around to the finish.

Since Sherry Spinner was quick enough to lead in a turf sprint at the Arlington meet, she figures to press the pace if she doesn't take an outright lead Wednesday. She was beaten at a mile on Oct. 11 at Arlington by Attico, who went on to win a 3-year-old grass stakes. Sherry Spinner's running style should prove more effective on this course.

The sharp claimer El Portal and Relaunch Gal, blowout winner of an off-the-turf allowance in her last start, are also contenders.

* Mystery Giver, who finished seventh as the favorite Saturday in the Carey, coughed after the race and was found to be have a lung infection, trainer Chris Block said. Block still hopes Mystery Giver can make the Great States Challenge on Dec. 7 at Sam Houston.