11/14/2002 12:00AM

Jill's Layup takes shot at Amelia Peabody


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - Trainer Edward Stone names most of his horses after shots his granddaughter, Jill Custodio, makes playing basketball. With Jill's Layup a standout in Saturday's $30,000 Amelia Peabody Stakes, the filly couldn't be more aptly named.

There are only six entered in the six-furlong race for 2-year-old Massachusetts-bred fillies. Considering the other five are maidens, including two first-timers and two others who lost their last race by more than 30 lengths, Jill's Layup is looking at a slam-dunk.

Jill's Layup won the Mom's Command Stakes by six lengths against open company Oct. 19. She is 3 for 4 in her career, with her only loss coming to New England champion Sweet Samantha in the Concord Stakes at Rockingham Park.

"In my 45 years of training, this is the nearest thing to a sure thing that I've ever had," said the 83-year-old Stone, who trains for his wife, Lois. "But this is racing, and I've got two first-timers on either side of me in the gate. I know I've got the best horse by far, but we can all run into bad racing luck. She's got bad conformation. I would never bid on her at an auction, but because of that I treat her with kid gloves, and she's responded each race better than I ever could have expected."

Jill's Layup, a daughter of Senor Conquistador, is a homebred and the last foal from Jill's Notebook, who is now infertile. The Stones' other horses named after their granddaughter include Mass-bred stakes starter Jill's Jumpshot.

Stone said a good performance by Jill's Layup Saturday would lead him to consider her for the Norman Hall Stakes against the boys Dec. 7.

Hampshire streak continues

Jockey Joe Hampshire's streak of days with at least one win nearly came to end Monday, but he came through in the last race to extend the streak to 15 and won two on Tuesday to make it 16.

Hampshire, 39, winner of the last five Suffolk riding titles, finished second in the first race on Monday. He finished fourth in the third race, won by 4-5 favorite Partying, whom he had ridden to victory in her previous effort. He again finished second, this time by a nose, in the fourth race and was later disqualified from a win and placed third aboard Diggin' for Fun in the $30,000 Second Episode Stallion Stakes.

With the streak on the line, Hampshire went straight to the front aboard Crystal Power in the finale and held on for a wire-to-wire victory.

He swept the double on Tuesday to end the suspense early, but now he's suspended through the weekend for the riding infraction that led to his disqualification. The streak watch resumes this Monday.