01/02/2004 12:00AM

Hilling ready for fresh start in '04


ALBANY, Calif. - Jim Hilling wasn't at all unhappy about pulling down the 2003 calendar from his stable office wall at Golden Gate Fields and putting up one for 2004.

He started 42 horses last year and didn't make a single trip to the winner's circle.

He can't explain why.

"I don't think I'd do a darn thing different, but I'd like to win a few more races," he said. "I had good help all year. I have the best blacksmith on the grounds and arguably the best vet."

Hilling, a cancer survivor, said he did not have a good year physically. He didn't have the best of luck, either.

"Just being alive is wonderful, and I have the best wife," he said.

"I don't get upset that quick any more, but if something is not done right or I get a bad ride, I do. I had one race where a rider lost an iron at the seven-eighths and didn't get it back until the second turn. The horse ran second, but even the jock's agent was embarrassed by the ride."

During the year, one of his primary owners left him. Then the owner returned his horses to Hilling's barn when they still didn't win for a new trainer.

"We parted on good terms," Hilling said. "And all his horses were sound."

Hilling first set up a stable more than 20 years ago. When Neil Drysdale ships a horse to the Bay Area, he sends it to Hilling. The Hilling-trained Show Dancer was second to Miesque in the 1987 Breeders' Cup Mile.

"I like to have a nice horse in the barn," Hilling said.

Hilling keeps working, waiting for a little luck and a chance to win again.

"I've seen it come and go for 100 years," he said. "A new kid comes in and wins and few races, and people think he has all the answers. An old guy like me, they think he's forgotten everything."

Moveinday looks for third straight

Moveinday has seven rivals to beat as he seeks his third straight win in Sunday's feature, a six-furlong allowance race.

Moveinday will be the one to catch as he steps up off a $32,000 maiden claiming win and a starter allowance victory. Stage Player and Attack Force, second and third against similar in their last start, provide the main competition.