12/13/2001 12:00AM

Gelding begat new racing enterprise


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Regardless of the outcome of Saturday's $100,000 Gravesend Handicap at six furlongs, Peeping Tom will be the big winner. Claimed last year at 3 for $40,000, he has developed into a stakes winner of almost $750,000 and has built a small stable and breeding operation for owner Louis Milazzo.

Milazzo's daughter-in-law, Danielle, a keen racing fan, convinced him it would be fun to own a horse. He took out a license, engaged trainer Pat Reynolds, and filed for an open claim. Danielle Milazzo, researching the project, found a colt with interesting breeding who closed strongly to be third in his only start. Louis Milazzo, vice president of a Wall Street securities firm, exercised the claim and gained instant fulfillment when Peeping Tom won.

It wasn't a parade of triumphs at first, but Reynolds, who once worked for Hall of Fame horseman Elliott Burch, made progress after gelding Peeping Tom, a son of the Danzig stallion Eagle Eyed. Peeping Tom got good last fall, and through the spring won six races from eight starts, with two seconds. The victories included the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at seven furlongs, and the seconds included the world-famed Metropolitan Mile.

Peeping Tom came out of the Met Mile a trifle the worse for wear and has struggled since. But there are indications he has regained form, and he will be dropping from Grade 1 company of his last race, the Cigar Mile, to the Grade 3 competition of the Gravesend.

"It's been a wild ride," Milazzo reflected the other day. "But my daughter-in-law had a dream, and some dreams come true. I've got four horses in training now, three broodmares, plus a weanling and a yearling, and Peeping Tom paid for them all. He's given us countless thrills and memories and we appreciate the luck this represents."

World series taking center stage

Interest in international racing has never been higher. Laurel's Washington D.C. International was the initial stimulus. The Breeders' Cup has been a marvelous factor in spurring interest, and now the World Racing Championship Series is maturing into a major player on the scene.

Ted Bassett, who has contributed so much to racing as chairman of the board at Keeneland and president of the Breeders' Cup, heads the World Racing Championship Series, an annual program of 12 races at tracks throughout the globe. Each race has a purse of at least $1 million, the distances range from 1/4 mile to 1 1/2 miles, and all 12 events are on television, either live or by delayed tape. Points are awarded to the leaders in each race, and a bonus is awarded at season's end. Fantastic Light, hero of the Breeders' Cup Turf - which is one of the 12 races in the WRCS - is the bonus winner this season.

Directors of the WRCS will meet in New York on Jan. 29 to consider an addition or two to the series. Singapore is expected to receive serious consideration for a race to be run in that country's new track, a state-of-the-art facility.

The Singapore race would also help to bridge the gap between the Dubai World Cup in March and the next race in the series, the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in England in July.

Bassett is delighted with the steady increase in entries for the series, and for the development of an international wagering pool to handle wagers on the WRCS events.