11/09/2005 1:00AM

Hamilton and Berry spurred by friendly rivalry


No jockey based in the region of Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana has won more races in North America this year than Quincy Hamilton or Cliff Berry, who are separated by just two wins atop the standings at Remington Park.

Hamilton is North America's ninth-leading rider in wins with 251 through Tuesday, while Berry ranks 13th, with 218. At their home track of Remington, Hamilton has won 97 races this meet as he works to defend his title, while Berry has 95. Remington's third-leading rider by wins is Nena Matz, with 37.

"Quincy and I are pushing each other," said Berry, a nine-time title winner at Remington and the 2005 leading jockey at Lone Star Park. "He's a very good rider. As young as he is, he makes a lot of good decisions."

Hamilton, 21, won his first race in 2003 and is in the midst of a breakout year. This past spring he won the title at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston. Hamilton is the son of top Quarter Horse jockey John Hamilton, and said he has a friendly rivalry with Berry.

"I've known Cliff for 10 years," he said. "I look up to him a bunch. He was always one that I could ask, 'Hey, what do I do in this situation?' and he was always really helpful."

Berry and Hamilton ride for a broad base of trainers and are both regulars on horses trained by Remington leader Bret Calhoun.

"Cliff and Quincy have been great for me over the last couple of years," Calhoun said. "Quincy's come so far in such a short time. He's going to be a top rider. He's got a great attitude and a great work ethic. And what do you say about Cliff? Cliff's a veteran and works extremely hard. He's a very good person and a great rider. I've got a lot of confidence in those guys."

Hamilton has purchased a home in Oklahoma and said he plans to ride at Sam Houston after the Remington meet. Berry said he intends to ride the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs. Remington closes Nov. 28.

Dontbotherknocking gets a vacation

Dontbotherknocking, who has won stakes in his last three starts, is being freshened, said his trainer, Bernell Rhone.

"We're going to give him some time off," said Rhone. "There's really not a whole lot now for him. We'll come back in the spring."

In three straight starts, Dontbotherknocking won the $125,000 DeBartolo Memorial and $50,000 Remington Green at Remington and the $125,000 Harrah's Louisiana Downs Handicap at Louisiana Downs. Down the road, Rhone said, Dontbotherknocking will be considered for the $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup at Sam Houston on April 8. The horse will spend his down time at owner Frank Jedlicki's farms in Minnesota and Kentucky.

Dontbotherknocking was ridden by Hamilton in all three recent stakes wins.

"He's a heck of a horse," said Hamilton. "I don't think I've ridden a horse that has the turn of foot like he does going so long on the turf."

Breather for Out Our Way

In his first start around two turns, Out Our Way finished a big second to Test Boy in the $75,000 MEC Mile at Remington on Oct. 21. The race was also his first start after being purchased privately following his win in the $40,000 Oklahoma Classics Day Juvenile on Sept. 24. Steve Wren trains Out Our Way, and said the colt will probably make his next start early in the coming year, at Oaklawn or the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs.

"We may give him a break until Oaklawn," said Wren. "He could come back in either the Risen Star or the Southwest, one of those two spots. That's what's on my mind right now."

The Grade 3, $200,000 Risen Star will be run Jan. 14 at Louisiana Downs, while the $250,000 Southwest at Oaklawn is set for Feb. 20.