07/03/2002 11:00PM

Home not so sweet for Stevens


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Gary Stevens rode two winners from two mounts on Wednesday, his first multi-win day of the Hollywood Park meeting. It was no cause for celebration for the Hall of Fame jockey.

Through Wednesday, Stevens, 39, had just three wins from 47 mounts at Hollywood Park, with 18 second- or third-place finishes. During the last few months, he has spent more time traveling to major stakes around the nation, and in May to Singapore, than riding at his base in Southern California.

At times, his travels have been lucrative: He won the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap last month aboard Macho Uno, his mount in Saturday's Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park. But his local record is weak and has left Stevens in a defensive mood.

"They've been running their eyeballs out," Stevens said of his mounts at Hollywood Park. "I've been riding good, but I've been frustrated at some people's comments."

Stevens's first winner on Wednesday, Music's Storm in an allowance race on turf, is bound for the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar on July 24. Trained by Eduardo Inda, Music's Storm won his turf debut Wednesday by 1 1/4 lengths.

"He's improved in every race," Stevens said. "The turf was a little hard for him. I think he'll like a softer turf course even more."

With a history of knee trouble, Stevens does not intend to ride entire cards and is more selective than he used to be. He has operated under that policy since he ended a 10-month retirement in October 2000.

Last year, Stevens's campaign was highlighted by a partnership with Horse of the Year Point Given. This year, he is not among the top 20 jockeys in the nation in earnings. In 2001, he finished seventh with more than $12 million.

"I didn't come back to ride three $10,000 claiming races," he said. "When you've only got three or four rides a week, it's easy for people to forget about you."

Out of Mind to Gold Cup

Out of Mind, winless in six starts since the 2000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, is a probable for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 14 following a six-furlong workout in 1:13.80 on Thursday. Trainer Richard Mandella timed Out of Mind in 1:12.

"He did it pretty easy," Mandella said.

The 7-year-old Out of Mind was sixth as the favorite in the All-American Handicap at Bay Meadows on June 8.

Run over 1 1/4 miles, the Gold Cup will have a small field. The other probables are Milwaukee Brew, Momentum, Macaneo, Sky Jack, and possibly Dollar Bill.

Two for later

The $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap on Saturday is missing two important runners - Swept Overboard and Aldebaran, the first two finishers in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 27.

Swept Overboard has suffered "a little setback," according to trainer Craig Dollase.

Dollase declined to reveal the specifics of the injury and is hopeful that Swept Overboard can return by late summer or early fall. He has not ruled out the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington Park on Oct. 26.

"We'll have a late fall schedule," Dollase said.

Trainer Bobby Frankel intended to run Aldebaran in the Triple Bend but said he decided not to ship Aldebaran from New York on Wednesday because of hot weather in the New York area.

Aldebaran was en route to a New York airport when Frankel changed his mind.

"We called the van and said, 'Bring him back,' " Frankel said. "I didn't want him sitting on the van for four or five hours before he got on the plane. I didn't want to take any chances."

Frankel does not know where Aldebaran will race next.

High-class exotics

The Triple Bend is the eighth race on a 10-race program that features a $1 million-guaranteed pick six pool. The bet covers the fifth through 10th races, comprising a $10,000 claimer for sprinters, a maiden race for 2-year-olds, the American Oaks, Triple Bend Handicap, Royal Heroine Stakes, and a maiden race on turf.

Also, the American Oaks is the first leg of an all-stakes pick three that covers the seventh through ninth races.