01/02/2002 1:00AM

Martinez tops Penn trainers


A tight race for leading trainer between six-time champion Harry Thompson and Jose Martinez wasn't decided until the next-to-last race of the year at Penn National Race Course.

Thompson, the track's top trainer from 1995-1997 and 1999-2001, had a chance to finish in a tie with Martinez when he sent out Diablo Deeds in Sunday's eighth race. But Thompson's 3-year-old filly finished fifth as the 6-5 favorite, enabling Martinez to clinch his first track training title with 146 victories. Thompson had to settle for second with 145. Bruce Kravets was third with 136 wins.

David Cora dominated the jockey standings all year. Cora, in his first season at Penn National, rode 279 winners from 1,440 mounts, earning $1,922,643. Emilio Flores was second with 214 wins, followed by Luis Belmonte with 172.

Danny Chen was the most active and successful owner at the Grantville, Pa., track. His horses ran 322 times and produced 81 wins, 50 seconds, and 41 third-place finishes while banking $452,289. Sunshine Hill Farm was second with 48 wins and Bruno Schickedanz finished third with 38 victories.