07/19/2001 11:00PM

Jockey props: Bailey and Baze to beat


RENO, Nev. - Everyone has their favorite jockeys. But even if you like Pat Day, you're still going to be cheering against him if your 15-1 shot is neck-and-neck with him down the stretch.

Well, the New Frontier on the Las Vegas Strip has a way for you to have a vested interest in Day's success even if you don't want to bet him every 6-5 shot he rides. The New Frontier has the Saratoga Jockey Challenge, in which you can wager on who will win the Spa's jockey title.

Jerry Bailey is the overwhelming 2-3 favorite, and deservedly so since he has won five of the last six Saratoga jockey titles. Day is the second choice at a more bettable 7-2, followed by Jorge Chavez (5-1), John Velazquez (6-1), Edgar Prado (10-1), Robbie Davis (12-1), Richard Migliore (15-1), and the field, which includes riders such as Joe Bravo and Aaron Gryder, at 25-1.

Rob Terch, the race and sports director at the New Frontier, said he will keep the prop up at least for a few weeks. That's also the case with the Del Mar Jockey Challenge, which he posted last Monday. Tyler Baze is the 3-1 favorite to win, followed by Laffit Pincay Jr. (7-2), Alex Solis (7-2), Kent Desormeaux (4-1), Victor Espinoza (5-1), and David Flores (6-1). Gary Stevens opened at 15-1 but has been bet down to 8-1. Others on the Del Mar list are Eddie Delahoussaye (12-1), Corey Nakatani (18-1), Mike Smith (20-1), and the field at 25-1.

Terch said he used to have this prop when he was running the dearly departed Desert Inn race book, but he gives credit to Vinny Magliulo for starting the bet at Caesars Palace.

New casinos dotting landscape

You might have seen the news that a casino just off the Strip opened Friday called the Greek Isles. It's the old Debbie Reynolds hotel-casino on Convention Center Drive.

When the company that ran the hotel filed bankruptcy in 1997, it was sold to the World Wrestling Federation for $10.8 million in 1998. Vince McMahon, the WWF owner, eventually decided the property wasn't big enough for his plans, including a tie-in with the WWF and the failed XFL, and it was sold to Mark IV Realty Group Inc. for $11.2 million.

The current owners have spent more than $1 million to refurbish the property, which has 192 rooms and 100 slot machines.

Sports bettors shouldn't get too excited about having another "out." There is currently no race and sports book (or even table games) at the property. The casino will mostly cater to local slot players and conventioneers.

o In Reno, the Siena Spa Resort & Casino is expected to open July 31. Its race and sports book will be part of the Club Cal Neva network, which runs nearly half of the books in Northern Nevada casinos. With the addition of the Siena, Club Cal Neva will operate 15 books, with six being run by Leroy's and 10 independent books (though several are linked to their parent companies in Las Vegas).

* Other Las Vegas casinos coming on board before the end of the year include the Palms on Flamingo Road across from the Rio and the Fiesta Henderson, which will not be a new property as much as a remodeling of The Reserve by its new owners, Station Casinos.

Sports book notes

While the Flamingo Reno Challenge VII Handicapping Tournament was wrapping up this weekend, the Harrah's Reno - right across Virginia Street from the Flamingo - is gearing up for a tournament this upcoming Friday and Saturday. The entry fee is $500 and the number of contestants will be limited to 100. But Christi Mitchell, the race book manager at Harrah's, said there were plenty of openings (only 40 people had signed up) as of Thursday. Mitchell cited the number of high-end contests this summer for the small field - from the Flamingo Reno contest to the Championship at The Orleans on Aug. 16-18, there are tournaments in Nevada for five straight weeks - but said she hopes the late signees will help Harrah's approach its goal of offering $50,000 in prize money with $20,000 to the winner.

* Reno players have another tournament to enter. The Flamingo Reno is holding a consistency contest on the seven Mondays of the Del Mar meet. It's a free contest, and players pick a horse (with a mythical $100 to win, place, and show) in every race on each Monday card. At the end of the seven weeks, the top four finishers will receive $100 in pari-mutuel wagers on the Breeders' Cup (winners must be present to place their wager). You don't have to play every Monday, but it helps.

* The recent rash of trades/free-agent signings have affected NBA future book odds. Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which supplies odds to 90 percent of Nevada's legal sports books, still has the two-time defending champion Lakers as the 7-5 favorite, but the Kings are now the second choice at 6-1 after Chris Webber decided to stay in Sacramento. When it appeared Webber was leaving, the Kings were at 12-1. The Kings added Mike Bibby (and subtracted Jason Williams) at point guard to an already solid team. Another team seeing its odds lowered is the Magic, which just signed Horace Grant and Patrick Ewing. The Magic, who are also planning on having a healthy Grant Hill to go along with Tracy McGrady, were lowered from 15-1 to 10-1.

* The under continues to be the way to go in major league baseball. Through Thursday, the under is 65-49-5 since the All-Star break. In fact, the under has had only one losing day in those eight days (coincidentally, it was Wednesday when I first mentioned this trend . . . d'oh!). The Braves-Reds game on Wednesday was looking like another under victory, but it was called after 7 1/2 innings, and according to sports book rules a shortened game is considered no contest and all bets on totals and run lines are refunded. The feeling here is that even though VP of baseball operations Sandy Alderson said the league wouldn't push the subject of pitch counts, the message was still delivered to umpires to call more strikes and speed up games, and that's exactly what's happening.

* "The SuperContest is a go." That's the word from Chuck Esposito, who oversees the race and sports book operations for Park Place Entertainment from his office at Caesars Palace. The status of the Las Vegas Hilton's SuperContest, in which football handicappers put up $1,500 and pick five NFL games per week, was up in the air because Park Place has had the Hilton on the auction block on and off during the past year. (In fact, the property was stamped "sold" to developer Ed Roski last year before the deal fell through.) But Esposito said that after some discussions that might have brought the contest to Caesars, it was decided to keep the prestigious tournament at the Hilton. Entries will be accepted starting Saturday, July 28.