05/31/2002 12:00AM

Ladies Din wins one for locals


Monday was a red-letter day for Las Vegans Terry Lanni and Bernie Schiappa. Their top-class gelding Ladies Din won his first stakes race in nearly two years, taking the Grade 1 $500,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park.

The Shoemaker win increased the career earnings of Ladies Din to $1,955,504 for Lanni, who is chairman of MGM Mirage, and Schiappa, a sales manager for a car dealership, Fletcher Jones Imports. Not bad for a 7-year-old they claimed as a 2-year-old for $32,000 and who at one point raced only once in 16 months.

"He really didn't have any big physical problems," said Schiappa about the long period of inactivity. "He had a little bit of a problem with his ankles."

Ladies Din, trained by Julio Canani, ran second in the Citation Handicap back on Nov. 25, 2000, and then he went to Dubai in March 2001 for the Dubai Duty Free. His next start came almost one year later, on March 22, 2002. His last stakes win came on July 30, 2000, in the Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar.

"When he came back from Dubai last year, he had a little problem with his ankles," Schiappa said. "So we turned him out to the farm and blistered him a couple of times; gave him the proper rest which he deserved.

"His first race back we knew he needed the race as a tightener. Julio didn't want to run on the turf course up north, so we skipped the San Francisco Mile and decided to shoot for the Shoemaker Mile, which worked out perfect.

"Ladies Din is a nice horse, a special horse. Hopefully we can come back and win the Eddie Read again."

Pat Valenzuela rode Ladies Din in his last two races, both victories. Schiappa could not have been more pleased with the results.

"Pat's a great rider," he said. "If you take away all the problems he's had, who is a better rider than him? If you want to win a big race, who better to ride than Pat Valenzuela?"

The ultimate goal for Ladies Din is to run in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Arlington Park.

"We supplemented to the Breeders' Cup two years ago," Schiappa said. "We want to run in the Breeders' Cup; that's where we're going."

There is no bigger booster for racing than Bernie Schiappa.

"I love the game," he said.

And in a town where gambling is the lifeblood, parlaying $32,000 into $1.9 million can cement that winning feeling.

Richard Eng is turf editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and host of the Race Day Las Vegas Wrap Up Show.