09/17/2004 12:00AM

Injury from 1990 nearly fatal in 2004

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Jockey Chad Schvaneveldt knew all too well what the signs meant when he was riding at Sacramento the last weekend in August.

The feeling of a knife twisting in his gut meant only one thing: the onset of another attack of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.

The 40-year-old jockey has suffered from the disease since a horse fell on him in 1990, lacerating his liver and breaking some blood vessels in his stomach.

"It seems to happen every two to 2 1/2 years," Schvaneveldt had said after his last bout, in December 2002.

And, almost like clockwork, it struck him again. Only this time was the worst yet.

"After I rode my last horse [on Aug. 29], I just threw my tack in the back of my car and drove home without even taking a shower," said Schvaneveldt, who lives in the Pleasanton area. "I was doubled over by the time I got home."

By the morning of Aug. 31, the pain was so great that he woke his wife, Jane, at 4 a.m. to take him to the hospital.

They didn't arrive a moment too soon, and he was immediately put on medication.

"They overtreated me with medication, and I stopped breathing," Schvaneveldt said. "It was scary waking up in front of all those people."

Schvaneveldt was hospitalized for 16 days, returning home Wednesday. The first thing he did was have his wife, a former rodeo champion who serves as an outrider at Bay Meadows, take his tack back to the track.

Schvaneveldt woke up early as usual Thursday morning, his first day home, fed his horses - "I missed being around the horses," he said - got a haircut, and spent the rest of the day resting.

Schvaneveldt said he has learned even more about pancreatitis.

"Dehydration is a big no-no for the pancreas," he said. "During the summer I wasn't hydrated properly. I know that now, and I will keep hydrated in the future."

He is also giving up cigarettes.

"I'm hoping to be back in a couple weeks, but I'm not going to push it," Schvaneveldt said. "I thought I had more strength than I did when I got out of the hospital."

Several come off layoffs Sunday

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer sends out a talented entry of comebackers in Sunday's Bay Meadows feature, a six-furlong $50,000 optional claiming sprint for fillies and mares.

Zak's Precocious, a stakes winner last year in Florida as a 2-year-old, will make her first start in nearly 10 months and will be coupled with North by Six, a 4-year-old filly who won both of her starts in northern California last year.

It's a question of condition for both fillies, but North by Six, who will be ridden by Russell Baze, comes into the race with a six-furlong bullet in her last work. Zak's Precocious, to be ridden by Ron Warren Jr., has a solid series of longer works, as does She's Gottogetaway, also making her 3-year-old debut after a stakes-winning 2-year-old campaign.

The comebackers will have to beat Summer Lass and Summer Lite.