10/16/2002 11:00PM

Make that two Mike Smiths


ARCADIA, Calif. - Mike Smith did not feel the least bit slighted when he was not invited to participate in a high-powered Breeders' Cup teleconference on Thursday morning. The guest list included Bob Baffert, Aidan O'Brien, Bobby Frankel, Laura de Seroux, and Simon Crisford, representing the absolute cream of the Breeders' Cup pre-entry list.

"Mike Smith?" Smith said. "What would they want with some jockey from California in that group?"

In fact, this particular Michael Smith is the not the one who will be riding Came Home and Azeri at Arlington Park on Breeders' Cup Day. This Smith is a freshly turned 50 (his birthday is 9/11), a bit taller than the other one, and weighs in at a few more pounds. In addition, this Mike Smith will be saddling the only runner in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies who is working on a four-race winning streak.

Her name is Humorous Lady, a California-bred daughter of Distorted Humor, and winner of the Astarita Stakes last weekend at Belmont Park.

Before that, while she was trained by Jim Chapman, Humorous Lady finished first in the Mid-Peninsula Stakes at Bay Meadows, first in the CTBA Stakes at Del Mar, and first in a maiden $40,000 claimer at Hollywood Park.

As for her trainer, the Astarita was the first time Smith ran a horse in New York. The Breeders' Cup will be part of his first visit to Chicago and Arlington Park. And Humorous Lady will be his first starter in a Breeders' Cup race.

Not that he hasn't been there before. Born in the Idaho town of Malad, Smith cut his teeth at the track with the West Coast Jones boys, Farrell and Gary, before going out on his own about 12 years ago. While working alongside Gary Jones, Smith got used to some high-quality horseflesh. The best of it was champion Turkoman, who finished third in the 1985 Breeders' Cup Classic at Aqueduct and second in the 1986 Classic at Santa Anita.

Jones and Smith (their real names, honest) also trained My Glamorous One, a daughter of It's the One who was good enough to finish second to Gorgeous in the 1989 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita. Her career came to a messy end one afternoon at Hollywood Park, when she was racing on the lead in the Senorita Stakes.

"All of a sudden the jock stood up on her," Smith said. "I looked through my binoculars and told Gary it looked like she tore her shoulder off and hit the rail. What really happened was that she bled so bad she was just covered with blood, both her and the jock."

Russell Baze rode My Glamorous One in the Senorita. Thirteen years later, he was aboard her daughter, Humorous Lady, for her eight-length win in the Mid-Peninsula. This time, Baze returned spotless.

"Humorous Lady has given me no indication of having that kind of problem," Smith said. "I'm not even remotely worried."

Smith is more concerned about getting back to New York to shepherd his filly through her final Breeders' Cup preparation. She has been in good hands, staying in the Belmont barn of Kiaran McLaughlin, but Smith needs eye contact to sleep well.

"It's been awhile since I've had one this good," he said. "I don't care who you are, if they can run, it makes training easy. You don't know how good it feels to tell her exercise rider to take a hold and not let her go too fast.

"Most of the time I'm saying things like, 'See if you can make this one go five-eighths in a minute.' "

Even though Humorous Lady has yet to be mentioned in the same breath with Storm Flag Flying, Composure, Santa Catarina or any of the other division leaders, Smith is convinced her quality has been tested in other ways.

"She's run and won at four different tracks under five different riders," Smith began. "She came into the barn on Aug. 16, and five days later she came down with a virus that knocked her out for almost a month. I wasn't able to do that much with her before the New York race - a half a mile, two five-eighths and a half a mile - and she goes wire-to-wire to win at 6 1/2 furlongs, which had to be more like seven furlongs on that sloppy track."

Now Smith is asking Humorous Lady to wheel back in two weeks and stretch out to nine furlongs in the Juvenile Fillies against proven two-turn commodities. Her owners, the Classic Star partnership headed by David Plummer, deferred to their trainer on a decision about Chicago. Is he asking too much?

"We're taking a shot, I know that," Smith said. "At one point I had them talked out of wanting to go. Then, a couple days later, I thought, 'Why not?' As long as everybody understands that we're taking a shot. I want everyone to have just as much fun whether she runs last, or runs decent. No second guessing.

"But I've got a good feeling," Smith added. "If we're going to see how far this filly will go, we might as well do it for a million dollars. I just wish I could get Mike Smith to ride her."