11/20/2002 1:00AM

Move splits top-rated turf team

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ALBANY, Calif. - When jockey Jason Lumpkins decided to move to Kentucky, it broke up the highest-ranking trainer-jockey turf combination in the country.

Based on statistics over the past three years from Daily Racing Form, the website Turfday.com rated Lumpkins and trainer Chuck Jenda the nation's No. 1 trainer-jockey combo.

Two other northern California trainer-jockey combos, R.L. Martin-Chad Schvaneveldt and Alex Paszkeicz-Alfredo Miranda, ranked third and fourth, respectively.

Lumpkins rode 17 winners in 32 turf starters for Jenda, winning with 53 percent of his mounts and finishing in the money 81 percent of the time.

"Jason was such a strong finisher, I think he carried a lot of those home," Jenda said. "He also saved a lot of ground, which I love on the turf."

Heading into Friday's Golden Gate Fields card, Jenda had run three horses on the turf since Lumpkins's departure.

He used apprentices Francisco Duran and Jose Luis Rivera Jr. last week and Omar Figueroa on a mount Thursday.

"There are a lot of good riders in the room, I try to use the best I can come up with," Jenda said. "But they have commitments, and it's not always my decision if an owner really wants to ride someone."

Jenda has enjoyed great success with turf runners. He trained Brown Bess, the 1989 female turf Eclipse Award winner.

Jenda shows a flat-bet profit on his turf runners and also on horses going dirt-to-turf. He has won 30 turf races from 171 starters over the past three years with an 18 percent win percentage and 54 percent in-the-money percentage.

He knows how to train horses for turf and also knows what he's looking for in a turf rider.

"On the turf course here, I believe a jockey has to help a horse around," Jenda said. "You don't want to fight them early or send them early. You need to find a comfortable spot for them.

"Some riders are better on turf because you have to be a little more patient."

* Eight older fillies and mares meet in a six-furlong allowance race in Friday's feature. Broke in Blairsden, who won at Bay Meadows on Oct. 18 after a 10-month layoff, and Senfully Easy, a runner-up in her past two starts, head the field.