07/31/2004 12:00AM

Martin thinking barn's hot streak will keep going


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - High-percentage trainer John Martin might become known as the King of Santa Rosa if he continues his hot streak.

Martin is winning at a 23 percent clip in 2004 and had won 5 of 7 races, including four straight, heading into the weekend at the Sonoma County Fair.

"That was fun," he said after going 3 for 3 Friday on top of winning Thursday's nightcap. "I had a lot of trouble at Pleasanton, but things are changing."

Geardown, who capped Martin's big day Friday, had trouble at Pleasanton in his previous start. He took up down the backstretch and was forced to go four wide on the turn.

"That was the worst part of the track at Pleasanton," Martin said.

Despite the problems, Geardown closed well behind Lunar Lion to miss by only 1 1/2 lengths.

He got a clean trip Friday and won by four under Russell Baze.

"Russell's won five in a row for me," Martin said.

The Martin-trained Spicy Cajun dropped from $8,000 to $6,250 on Friday and romped by eight. At Pleasanton, she had tired while mired on the rail in a hot pace duel.

Martin claimed Spicy Cajun for $20,000 on April 17. In the Friday race, he said, "I got to drop her down, and, hopefully, when you do that, they're meeting easier. I thought she'd win, but I was surprised by the way she won."

Frankie Eyelashes, Martin's third winner Friday, was another recent claim. Martin kept jockey Barrington Harvey on her and was rewarded with a two-length wire-to-wire victory.

"She has a reputation of being hard to handle in the paddock and post parade," said Martin, who added that Harvey had been working with her on the problem.

Martin is astute at picking spots for his horses.

"It was just a matter of getting three live horses in on one day," he said of Friday's success.

"I have some horses ready and should have a good second week at the meet, too."

Charity wins in contest

Track announcer Vic Stauffer and Ray Harris, Russell Baze's agent, had their annual charity showdown at Friday's handicapping seminar.

Harris took the lead with a victory in the 11th race when Baze guided Geardown to victory. But Stauffer rallied with his picks, All Thee B and Pj'salarm, winning the final two races and the contest.

Stauffer's victory means Harris will contribute $100 to Glen Ellen Vocational Academy, northern California's only nonprofit horse retirement and rehabilitation facility.