10/23/2002 12:00AM

Lumpkins ready for good-byes


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Jason Lumpkins, second in the Bay Meadows jockey standings and the leading rider in stakes here, is not listed among entries for the second straight day Friday as he takes a brief respite from riding while attending the national bull riding finals in Las Vegas.

Northern California racing fans will have to get used to his absence.

The popular rider is planning to leave northern California after the first week of the Golden Gate Fields meeting, which begins Nov. 6, and move to ride in Kentucky, where he has recently purchased a 165-acre farm located halfway between Churchill Downs and Turfway Park.

"It hurts," he said. "It's heartbreaking to leave, but I have family commitments. It wasn't happening for my kids. They're in school here with 35 kids in a class. They're doing all right, but they're not used to that class size. And they're not used to this commotion, the hustle and bustle out here."

Lumpkins has enjoyed success in California. Two years ago, he and perennial leading rider Russell Baze engaged in an epic jockey race at the Bay Meadows spring meeting, with Lumpkins ultimately finishing a close second behind Baze.

Lumpkins has six stakes victories at the meeting, including a win aboard David Copperfield in the premier race of the meet, the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap. He also won the San Mateo Stakes with Mr. Technique, the Carmel Handicap with A B Noodle, the Malcolm Anderson Stakes with Only the Best, the Time to Leave Stakes with Viansa Ossidiana, and the Charles Russell Handicap with Bullish Miss.

Lumpkins was a guest in Las Vegas earlier in the week at a handicapping seminar at the Gold Coast. After the seminar, he said, he signed more than 90 autographs and received many compliments.

"People said they were glad I'd come [to California]," he said.

His popularity and the chance to ride top mounts here make his pending departure all the tougher.

"I appreciate all thing things the horsemen did for me," he said.

Seven nominated to Pacifica

Saturday's $60,000-added Pacifica Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, drew seven nominees, including Ninebanks, winner of the California Turf Championship and runner-up to David Copperfield in the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Ninebanks would be making his first dirt start since a fifth-place finish in the Alamedan Handicap on July 7 at Pleasanton.

Sabertooth, winner of the Longacres Mile and Washington Championship Handicap at Emerald Downs in his past two starts, is also nominated, along with Hoovergetthekeys, Rio's Chase, San Nicholas, Sign of Fire, and Sirpa.