07/02/2004 12:00AM

Iwinski ill, dispersing stable


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Allen Iwinski, one of the leading mid-Atlantic trainers over the last decade, will phase out his stable over the next year to focus on his ongoing battle with hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a viral disease that can lead to permanent, possibly fatal, liver damage.

Iwinski, who turned 52 on Wednesday, operates three divisions with horses at Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Delaware Park.

The Delaware division will be the first to go, with the horses dispersed to New York and New Jersey.

"I don't know if I'd call it a retirement, but I do have to take a break," Iwinski said on Friday.

He has doctor appointments scheduled to plan the next course of treatment for an illness that he has battled for more than eight years.

"It's not like I'm going to die in the next year or two," Iwinski said. "I need to undergo treatments to build up the immune system. And I want to spend more time with my family, who I have neglected."

Iwinski has advised clients he will no longer claim horses, and current runners will not be replaced.

Iwinski will relocate to Ocala - "the heart of Florida's horse country," he said - to continue his recuperation. He hopes to return to racing.

"When I do come back, it will be much smaller with all the horses in one location," Iwinski said.

Iwinski, who was born in Detroit, started walking hots at Hazel Park when he was 14. He took out a Michigan trainer's license in 1975 and came to national prominence in the last 10 years.

He won three Philadelphia Park training titles in early 1990's and was the leader at Delaware Park in 1997 and 2000. His stakes winners include Dashboard Drummer, Austin's Mom, Whomsoever Proud, Wired to Fly, Jarf, Vogue Girl, and Blushing Julian.

Iwinski has always been a high-percentage trainer, winning at a 20 percent clip for his career. Heading into Friday, Iwinski had sent out 7,329 runners with a record of 1,508-1,249-949 for total earnings of more than $26.7 million.