07/01/2001 11:00PM

JH success is old hat in new locale


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Jerry Hollendorfer perennially finds his way into a group of the nation's elite trainers in terms of wins and money earned. And it should come as no surprise that three weeks into the long Arlington race meet, during his first summer in the Midwest, Hollendorfer has found his way to the top of the trainer standings here.

Through Sunday's races, Hollendorfer had won eight races with 38 starters, one win more than second-place Chris Block's total and two more than Wayne Catalano. Hollendorfer wins a lot, and much to the delight of a racing office that has scrambled to fill a complete racing program several days so far this meet, he runs a lot. Those 38 starters also are tops among local trainers.

Hollendorfer has been a most graceful and diplomatic invader. With a dominating barn full of live runners parading to and from the track during morning training hours, Hollendorfer often can be found sitting quietly by himself at a picnic table on a grassy slope just west of the towering Arlington grandstand. He chats peaceably with horsemen he knows a little, and horsemen he is just getting to know. There have been no boasts, no predictions. Far from it.

"We're just happy to be here and competing," he said Monday morning. "There's competitive racing here. The track is good."

Besides a procession of higher-priced claimers and horses with allowance conditions, Hollendorfer sent out Globalize off a long layoff to run a solid race in an opening-day overnight handicap here. Globalize is likely to run back Saturday in the Grade 3 Hanshin Handicap at a one-turn mile.

"We're taking it one step at a time with him," Hollendorfer said. "The ultimate goal is to get him stretched out to two turns. We'll point for something in Chicago."

Hollendorfer won three races last week, two of them with first-time starters who romped by open lengths. Manhattan Now, an unraced 3-year-old by Private Terms, beat a modest field by nearly eight lengths Sunday, but it was At the Copa, a Capote 2-year-old, who delivered the more impressive performance last Thursday, winning a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race by nearly five lengths. Breaking from post 10, At the Copa left the gate like a shot, clearing her rivals before the turn, opened up a sizable lead and finished very well. It was by far the most promising 2-year-old race so far this year in Chicago.

"We knew she had the speed," Hollendorfer said, "and we think she can run off the pace. We'll play things as they come along. Arlington has some nice stakes. There's the [Sept. 22 Arlington-Washington] Lassie if you're thinking big.."

* Hollendorfer starts two horses here on Wednesday's holiday program, which does not include a stakes race. Lac Tahoe drops in class and will be among the favorites in the fourth race, a $14,000 claimer, while Big Impact tries to rebound from a poor race here opening week in the eighth race, an entry-level allowance.