08/07/2001 11:00PM

Gomez goes for third Derby


Jockey Garrett Gomez, who is 2 for 2 in the Remington Park Derby, will try to keep his streak going Sunday when he ships in from Southern California to ride Top Hit in this year's renewal of the Grade 3, $300,000 race, which has been renamed the Oklahoma Derby.

Others probable for the 1 1/8 miles race are Unbridled Time, a 12-length winner of the $100,000 Cleveland Gold Cup Handicap in his last start for trainer D. Wayne Lukas; Rockchalk Jayhawk, winner of last year's Remington Park Futurity; Buckets, a 10-length maiden winner in his last start for trainer John Ward; Compendium, winner of the $100,000 Northern Dancer Handicap; and Devout Sinner. Miesque's Encore, second in last year's Remington Park Futurity, is possible for the Oklahoma Derby.

Remington Park, which opens for a 59-day meet Saturday, has been kind to Gomez. He won his first career stakes at the track in 1989 when he captured the Remington Green Handicap with Gauntlett Boy, and in two starts in the Remington Park Derby he has been perfect, winning the race in 1993 with Marked Tree and in 1995 with Dazzling Falls.

Gomez could be on the favorite Sunday. Top Hit finished fourth, beaten 5 1/4 lengths by Congaree in his last start, which came in the Grade 1, $500,000 Swaps at Hollywood Park. Before that, the Kory Owens-trained Top Hit placed in two Grade 3 stakes, the Affirmed and the Laz Barrera.

Filly taking on the boys

Devout Sinner, a winner of two races in three career starts, will take on males Sunday in the Oklahoma Derby. In her last start the filly finished a troubled second in the $125,000 Walmac Lone Star Oaks on July 4. Before that race she won a maiden and conditioned allowance race impressively at Lone Star Park.

Her talent has not gone unnoticed, and recently owner-trainer Joan Charlton turned down an offer of more than $250,000 for the filly, a daughter of Tricky Creek and the stakes-producing Slewacide mare Almahslew.

Charlton said the Oklahoma Derby became an option for Devout Sinner largely because the race is at home.

"It's in our backyard, and over a surface she likes," Charlton said. "We don't have to haul her, so the stress factor on her is minimal. We also get a weight break, and the jockey of our choice, Cliff Berry. These are all pluses for her."

Pish, Chapa combine at Retama

Trainer Danny Pish and jockey Roman Chapa, who teamed to win the opening-night J.R. Straus Memorial last week at Retama Park near San Antonio, have a good chance to win their second stakes of the season Friday in the Lakeway, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds worth $25,000.

Pish and Chapa will team with Sister's Shamrock, who in her last start won a conditioned allowance race at Lone Star. Earlier this season the filly placed second in two stakes, and last year won a division of the Friendship at Louisiana Downs, but was disqualified for interference and placed fourth. She seeks her first stakes win in the Lakeway.

Chapa and newcomer Steve Bourque won eight races each during the first three nights of the season at Retama to top the standings. Pish won with five of 10 starters last week to top the training standings.

* Retama handled an average $1,146,343 a night on its first three programs of the meet last week, up from $900,548 over the corresponding days in 2000. Attendance during opening week averaged 4,079, up from last year's opening three-day average of 4,039.