06/21/2004 11:00PM

Holmes goes 4 for 4 with small stable


STOCKTON, Calif. - The San Joaquin Fair certainly spread the wealth during its first week.

Twenty different trainers won the first 20 Thoroughbred races. Twenty-eight different trainers won the 35 Thoroughbred races during the first week of the meet with only Barry Holmes, who won with all four horses he started, winning more than two.

"I'm getting lucky and my horses are fitting in the right places," said Holmes, whose four victories at Stockton matched his total for the Bay Meadows meeting. "I'd been entering and entering several at Bay Meadows, but the races didn't fill."

Holmes, who has only 10 horses, has been a high-percentage trainer since moving from Quarter Horses to the Thoroughbred ranks, winning 18 percent from 413 career starters. He's winning at a 19 percent clip this year and had four winners and four seconds from only 16 starters at Bay Meadows.

"I was looking for a big Bay Meadows, but it didn't turn out right," he said, "but I only missed two checks. It worked out in my favor at Stockton, though, because I had horses that were ready."

Holmes moved to northern California full-time this year following the lead of friends such as John Martin and Brian Koriner, who have made successful transitions from Quarter Horses to Thoroughbreds.

"I'm happy to be up north," he said. "This is the first time I've run full-time on the fair circuit. Hopefully, this is going to be a good summer. I'm hoping I get a few more clients."

Boeagle successful in comeback

The story is the same in the non-Thoroughbred races. Twelve different trainers have won the 15 races with only Susan Andrus showing more than one victory.

Andrus, who has 26 horses and mules in her stable, has won four races, including a comeback race by Arabian kingpin Boeagle on Saturday. The win was the 30th in Boeagle's 60-race career.

"I'm blessed with quality animals, especially Boeagle," said Andrus, who also owns the 8-year-old gelding.

Andrus, a Realtor for 34 years, got her trainer's license last year.

"I was an owner who was always hands-on," she said.

Andrus said her success comes from good co-workers and the help of fellow horsemen such as Ray and Ruby Thomas.

Boeagle has now won three straight after winding up 2003 with a pair of stakes wins at Fresno last October. He also won a comeback off an eight-month layoff last year before suffering a foot injury.

"Being green, I did a stupid thing," Andrus said. "I let him into the arena at Vallejo where he could roll around, and he cut his foot. He caught a deep quarter that didn't heal quickly. He ran with pure heart through the pain. He was just 100 percent at Fresno."

Andrus brings all her horses to Stockton and was there as soon as the track opened on May 3 this year.

"To be here and train on it every day does give you a leg up," she said.

* The first week highlight was Splashn Joe breaking the track record for 350 yards for Quarter Horses. He was clocked in 17.443 seconds, bettering the 17.50 mark set by Flack Attack on June 25, 1994.

* Jockeys Chad Schvaneveldt and Frank Alvarado will serve three-day suspensions through Friday for infractions at Bay Meadows. Schvaneveldt then received a five-day suspension from June 26 to July 2, which will cost him the first three days at Pleasanton, for a repeat offense aboard Ludicrous Speed in last Saturday's second race.

* Grandpa Chan, winner of the seventh race at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 28, was disqualified after testing positive for Clenbuterol (Class III) in excess of permitted level. Owner-trainer Armando Lage had to forfeit the $11,000 in purse money won and was fined $2,000.