02/21/2003 12:00AM

Hizzoner proves life of his own party


LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is a party man. He is listed as a Democrat, but he crosses all party lines.

The outspoken Goodman, who has a $100,000-a-year endorsement deal with Sapphire Bombay Gin, is a self-proclaimed drinker and gambler, and that endears him to his constituents. You would be hard-pressed to find a mayor who is a better fit for his city.

He is a shoo-in for a second term (he is running unopposed, as not even Jerry Tarkanian or other hometown heroes such as Greg Maddux, Andre Agassi or Wayne Newton can match him in popularity), but he still threw a campaign kickoff party Thursday night at his downtown headquarters. Any excuse for a party.

Like a typical politician, he kissed babies, shook everyone's hand, and posed for pictures, but he also sang and danced with the Drifters. And when he spoke, the former mob lawyer thanked his supporters in his own style.

"There's nothing nicer than seeing all my friends and supporters who came out tonight," Goodman said. "You must all be friends because only a few people would come here just for a free hot dog. There are a few of you that would do that, but the next party we'll have you whacked."

Goodman told the story of how he was on a Caribbean vacation with his wife, Carolyn, and their four kids in 1998 when he said he wanted to help the city of Las Vegas from the inside: He wanted to run for mayor.

"Since we're a democratic family, we always vote when a decision affects all of us," Goodman said. "My wife was smart and she abstained, but then the kids voted 4-0 against me. When I asked them why, they said, 'Dad, you have more baggage than the skycaps at the airport.' "

But Goodman defied the family and ran anyway.

The other family that has meant a lot to Goodman is organized crime. Goodman had a cameo in the 1995 movie "Casino," and in real life he represented most of the characters on which the film was based.

When Laffit Pincay Jr. made an appearance at the Bally's race book in September of 2001, Goodman stopped by to proclaim it Laffit Pincay Jr. Day in Las Vegas and give Pincay the key to the city. Pincay also gave Goodman some gifts. "I still have his bobblehead in my office," Goodman said Thursday.

Goodman gave out a losing horse racing pick that morning but also gave out a football winner that weekend. "It's not a good day until I've made a bet," he said.

He's a Vegas guy through and through.

Stevens promoting movie, book

Gary Stevens, an accomplished jockey in his own right, will be portraying legendary jockey George Woolf in the "Seabiscuit" movie this summer.

He will also be making an appearance at 9 a.m. March 19 at the Gold Coast. The activities, to be held in the dance hall next to the racebook, will include a question-and-answer session conducted by Ralph Siraco, a showing of a trailer for "Seabiscuit," and a $10 buy-in handicapping contest with a guaranteed prize pool of $5,000.

In addition, everyone who enters the contest will be in a raffle drawing for 30 signed copies of Stevens's book, "The Perfect Ride." Books also will be available for purchase and for Stevens to sign.

Online contest update

In the age of the Internet, you don't have to go to a race book to enter a contest.

* Elhandicap.com is having its second $100 buy-in contest next Saturday on the last five races at Gulfstream and the last five races at Santa Anita. Registration begins at the website at 1 p.m. Monday. Contestants must subscribe to the website in order to play.

* Entries are still being taken for the Kentucky Derby Fantasy Challenge at kentuckyderby.com and the Kentucky Derby Future Book Challenge at letitride.com.

* If you are interested in a free contest on the other sport with horsepower, sportswireonline.com is having a NASCAR contest starting this weekend. Contestants select four drivers and try to earn the most Winston Cup points. Each week's winner will earn $50, with a $500 bonus if he picks the top four finishers in exact order. Season-long prizes of $500 for first, $300 for second and $200 for third are also available, so the earlier you sign up the better your chances.

Making book on Sorenstam

When the top women's golfer in the world, Annika Sorenstam, announced a week ago that she would be playing in the Colonial PGA event on May 22-25, people wondered if she would perform well or fall on her face.

It didn't take Las Vegas bookmakers long to attach real odds to those questions and start taking bets.

The Imperial Palace and the Palms both made Sorenstam 300-1 to win the tournament. The over/under on her first-round score was set at 76 1/2.

As far as answering the question "Will Annika Sorenstam make the cut?" the Imperial Palace made her a 4-1 underdog still to be playing after 36 holes, with those wanting to bet that she wouldn't make the cut having to lay -600. The Palms gave her a slightly better chance, with the "no" at -500 and "yes" at +350.

At Caesars Palace, bettors could try to predict Sorenstam's finish. Among the propositions, "Missing the cut" was listed at 1-7, with "lose by 16 or more shots" at 8-5, "lose by 13 to 15 shots" at 5-1, and "win by 16 or more shots" at 999-1.

In addition, Caesars has head-to-head matchups between Sorenstam and 12 different players (only the first two rounds are used). Tiger Woods is a 9 1/2-stroke favorite over her with bettors still having to lay -130 on Woods while getting even money on Sorenstam.

But sort of like when Billie Jean King dominated Bobby Riggs in their legendary tennis match 30 years ago this September, Sorenstam is at least expected to beat up some old men. She is a 2 1/2-stroke favorite over Jack Nicklaus and a 3 1/2-stroke pick over Arnold Palmer.