08/20/2002 12:00AM

Gelding attracts record 28 claims, runs out


DEL MAR, Calif. - Rehabilitated is a 3-year-old gelding who had won twice in six starts and was in for a $20,000 claiming price in Monday's first race at Del Mar. He became the most coveted horse on the grounds when a Del Mar record 28 claims were submitted for him, resulting in an unusual shake to determine who took Rehabilitated home.

Rehabilitated, the 6-5 favorite, faded after setting the early pace in the 1 1/16-mile race and finished fourth, beaten by four lengths. Soon after the race, a massive crowd of trainers or their assistants milled around a desk adjacent to the winner's circle where claims are sorted by a stewards aide.

When word filtered through the crowd that 28 slips were in for Rehabilitated, Larry Benavidez, an assistant to trainer John Sadler, remarked, "That's sick."

"I put in two myself," said trainer Rafael Becerra, who was joined by trainers such as Paul Aguirre, Jose Delima, John Dolan, Bob Hess Jr., Mike Puhich, and Eddie Truman in seeking to acquire Rehabilitated.

Usually when a couple of trainers seek the same claiming horse, a draw is held in which numbered pills, corresponding to the number of claims in for a horse, are put into a bottle, and the numbered pill that comes out first determines who gets the horse. There are not 28 pills, however.

To improvise, 28 pieces of paper, all numbered and corresponding to each claim slip, were placed in the hat of a security guard. Ruben Hernandez, a patrol judge, then reached into the hat, in full view of the assembled trainers, and pulled out number one. Come on down, trainer Mike Mitchell, Rehabilitated is yours.

"I've been getting beat on shakes all year, and this one I get, with 28 in there. It's so funny," said Mitchell, who said he submitted two claim slips, for two different sets of owners, for Rehabilitated. "Before, an owner could only put in one slip, but now they'll let you put in two slips - one owner, but with two different partners."

Pincay rides 1,000th winner at Del Mar

Laffit Pincay Jr.'s victory on Chapeau in Monday's sixth race was his 1,000th at Del Mar, making him the first to reach that number at this track. Pincay, the all-time winningest jockey in history, has won 9,410 races.

"I'm proud of winning 1,000 races here," Pincay said. "It is a good accomplishment. I'm the only person ever to do it, so that makes it special. Maybe someday someone else will [win] 1,000, but I did it first."

Pincay is having a strong meet here this summer. He is second in the jockey standings with 21 victories, three behind the leader, Patrick Valenzuela.

Singapore-based Pinfield suspended

Tim Pinfield, who left Southern California earlier this year to train in Singapore, was suspended by Del Mar's stewards on Monday for failure to fulfill a financial obligation.

Although steward George Slender said the amount was small - "about $500" owed to an owner, Slender said - authorities in Singapore reciprocally honor rulings made in the United States, and thus Pinfield is, at least temporarily, suspended there.

"He was past due with another owner a couple of weeks ago, and took care of that, but then this came up, and we've had trouble reaching him because of the time difference," Slender said. "I'm sure once he finds out in Singapore that he's suspended, he'll get a hold of us."

Slender said the Del Mar ruling was sent by fax to racing authorities in Singapore by Mike Kilpack, a California Horse Racing Board investigator based at Del Mar.

Yellow Ribbon next for Golden Apples

Golden Apples, who won Saturday's Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park, flew back to California on Monday, returning to the Del Mar barn of trainer Ben Cecil to begin preparing for her next start, the $500,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes on Oct. 5 at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.

Cecil was thrilled with the way Golden Apples came out of the race, and said he believed the filly still had room for improvement. She was light for her comeback race in Del Mar's Ramona Handicap, and though she had gained weight for the Beverly D., Cecil said she is still "not where she was for her first start this year."

Golden Apples is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup, and thus would have to be supplemented to the $1 million Filly and Mare Turf by her owner, Gary Tanaka.

Siphonic's comeback shows progress

Siphonic, considered one of the best 3-year-olds in the country before being sidelined in the spring, worked a half-mile at Del Mar on Sunday morning in 47.80 seconds as he progresses toward a scheduled comeback at the Oak Tree meeting.

David Hofmans, who trains Siphonic, said the colt is "doing better than I expected."

Sunday's work was only the second half-mile drill for Siphonic since he went back into training. He will need several longer works before being fit enough to race.

* Eddie Delahoussaye has won five stakes at this meet, giving him 94 lifetime and placing him third all-time at Del Mar, behind only Chris McCarron and Pincay. Delahoussaye entered the meet four behind Bill Shoemaker, who won 93 Del Mar stakes during his career.

* Bob Baffert leads the trainer standings with 15 victories, three more than Bill Spawr.