02/11/2002 12:00AM

Mongoose gets good under Bond


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - When a horse is good, he is eligible to win any kind of race, and there is no question Mongoose is racing in his best form. He recorded his fourth consecutive victory Saturday in the $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park, while in 11 previous starts he had won twice.

The 20,393 on hand were mildly surprised, for they sent off Mongoose at 6-1, though he ran coupled as an entry with Ubiquity, who won the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in his last start.

It was Ubiquity's assignment to ensure an honest pace, and under the skilled hand of Craig Perret, he carried it off perfectly, the first six furlongs in 1:10.54. A generous horse, he gave it all he had, and went down of a heat stroke after passing the finish. Fortunately, he appears to be all right.

The Donn, with 14 starters, figured to be eventful and it was. Red Bullet, the 2-1 favorite, went into the air at the start and lost all position. He recovered quickly and finished well, missing by only a neck, but in mounting pursuit` of Mongoose, the Bullet wandered a bit, interfering with Rize on the far turn. Rize's rider, Jose Santos, claimed foul and Red Bullet was disqualified from second and was placed fourth.

Hal's Hope and Graeme Hall, both expected to be factors in the outcome of the Donn, flattened out in the drive to finish seventh and eighth.

Even with the considerable assistance that came his way Saturday, Mongoose ran a strong race, reflecting credit on Jim Bond, who took over the training of the 4-year-old Broad Brush colt just a couple of months ago. Bond is not certain about immediate plans, but is expected to choose between the World Cup in Dubai or the Gulfstream Park Handicap in late March.

Mongoose is owned by Gary and Mary West of Omaha, Neb., and Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. West, who is in the field of telemarketing, has some 30 horses in training with several stables, including those trained by Bond, Dallas Stewart, and Cole Norman. The Wests have been active in racing for more than 20 years and owned Rockamundo, the upset winner of the 1993 Arkansas Derby at odds of 108-1.

Tortora's birthday present

Florida's leading sire, Notebook, had another good winner at Gulfstream on Sunday when Fappie's Notebook got up in the final strides to win the $100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs. Jorge Chavez rode the 5-year-old Fappie's Notebook, who also won the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Calder in December. The Deputy Minister victory increased his career earnings past the $500,000 mark.

Notebook, who stands for $15,000 at Ocala Stud Farm, is also the sire of Booklet, winner of the Holy Bull Stakes and a leading prospect for Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes. Fappie's Notebook, a successful come-from-behind sprinter, is expected to run next in the Gulfstream Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship on March 9. He is trained by Manny Tortora, who celebrated his 66th birthday with the victory.