06/20/2001 11:00PM

Jamaican Rum needs a win in Manila

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The $60,000 Manila Stakes at Hollywood Park on Saturday is a pivotal race for Jamaican Rum.

A win would put him on schedule for the $500,000 Swaps Stakes on July 15, and help erase the disappointment of a loss to 33-1 Winston Chi in the California Sires Stakes on June 9.

"He came out of that race as sharp as he's ever been," trainer Jim Cassidy said. "I'm hoping it wasn't the course. I'm still thinking it was the speed because it took him out of his game."

In the California Sires, Jamaican Rum stalked a lonely pacesetter but was passed in early stretch by Winston Chi, who won by two lengths. It was a shocking loss for the 3-year-old Jamaican Rum, who was second in the Arkansas Derby and sixth in the Kentucky Derby.

The Manila drew six, including Winston Chi and Romanceishope, the winner of the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes on April 28.

Run over a mile on turf, the Manila carries a $60,000 purse and a bonus for the California-breds, Jamaican Rum, Romanceishope, and Winston Chi.

Owned by Southern Nevada Racing Stables, Jamaican Rum has lost five stakes since he began his 2001 campaign with a victory in the minor Hill Rise Handicap on turf at Santa Anita in January.

"It's worth $80,000 for me," Cassidy said. "If he wins it, it will make up for losing that race the other day."

Nursing a first victory

Last year, when Regina Schuetta began training at Pomona, it seemed unlikely that her first winner would be Casperius See, whom she bought for $1,100 at Barretts in January, 2000.

"In the first month I had him, he had seven abscesses in his left front leg," Schuetta said. "The vet said he'd never race. He said he'd be a trail horse."

Casperius See is not quite ready for the trail. One of four Schuetta has in training, Casperius See won the third race at Hollywood Park on Wednesday, surviving a lengthy stewards' inquiry regarding the stretch run.

"I didn't think they'd rule in favor of me," said Schuetta, 28.

Racing is only part of Schuetta's life. To make ends meet, she spends 30 hours a week as a part-time nurse, caring for people in their homes. Consequently, she doesn't have much free time after dealing with patients and spending mornings at the track. "The horses are like children," Schuetta said.

On Sunday, she tries for another win with Cisco's Kite, who will start in a $40,000 claiming race for maidens. Expectations are high. Said Schuetta, "He's a better athlete."

Power Wing: Claimer to Gold Cup?

It cost trainer Ahmad Salih almost as much to supplement Power Wing to the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 1 as it did to claim him last year.

On Wednesday, Salih paid $12,500 to make Power Wing eligible to the richest race of the meeting. He claimed the 7-year-old Power Wing for $16,000 in March 2000 at Santa Anita and won a $25,000 claiming race last month.

Most recently, Power Wing, who is owned by Salih's brother Salah al Mudarris, was second in an allowance race on June 13. Power Wing will be an outsider against a small field expected to include Aptitude, Captain Steve, Futural, and Skimming.

Salih, who has a small stable based at Hollywood Park, fully intends to run Power Wing, who has won 3 of 34 starts and $135,650, in the Gold Cup.

"I know I'll be 99-1, so there's no pressure," Salih said. "He's been asking me for distance. He's really sharp and there's not many in there. Life is a gamble. If I felt like we had no shot I wouldn't run."

Captain Steve is not a certain starter. Second in the Stephen Foster Handicap last weekend at Churchill Downs, his status depends on how he trains in coming days, trainer Bob Baffert said.

Drug positive for Proud Louie, Silva

The California Horse Racing Board on Thursday announced that Proud Louie, the third-place finisher of the second race at Santa Anita on Feb. 11, tested positive for hydroxymepivacaine, a class 2 drug not permitted for use in racehorses.

Trained by Jose Silva, Proud Louie finished first but was disqualified and placed third for interference. A post-race urine test conducted at Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at UC Davis showed the presence of the banned drug, which was confirmed at the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.

The drug, a local anesthetic, is more commonly known as carbocaine, and is frequently used by dentists as a painkiller.

A hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 22-24 at Del Mar.