12/12/2001 1:00AM

No job too small for these men


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Recently in the news:

"California stewards will no longer have jurisdiction over major equine medication violations involving Class 1, 2, and 3 prohibited substances, according to a new law that takes effect Jan. 1, 2002. 'The new process will be good for the public, good for horsemen, and good for the stewards,' said Roy Wood, CHRB executive director. 'Having once been a stweard myself, I know what I'm talking about.' " - from the November issue of "CHRB News & Review."

"The California Horse Racing Board has amended its rules to allow advertising to appear on silks, saddle towels and jockey pants, collars, and boots. The content of the advertising will be subject to the approval of the board of stewards." - from a summary of the Nov. 30 meeting of the CHRB.

And now, from a morning meeting of three senior California stewards, taking place in the not so far-fetched future:

Pete Pedersen: Let's get to the first item on the agenda. . .

Dave Samuel: Pete, it's the only item on our agenda.

Pedersen: Well, yes, but there are 27 sub-items under the heading of advertising approvals, including five appeals of prior rejections. We'd better get to them.

Tom Ward: I miss the drug cases. Don't you guys miss the drug cases? When's the last time we got to have some real quality face time with Neil Papiano?

Samuel: Be careful what you wish for. Papiano is representing one of the appeals. The dot-com thing.

Ward: Oh, no. Not the dot-com thing. My head is starting to hurt already.

Pedersen: In the meantime, can we turn to the first applicant? A copy of the logo is there in your folders. The owner would like this to appear on his silks.

Ward: What's a "Gub?"

Samuel: That's an "n." It's a florist out in Norco who has opened a target range in the same building. He calls it "Guns and Roses." Guess we've got no choice. Nothing illegal about sport shooting.

Ward: Could we get him to tone down the bullseye? Is it just me, or is it kind of creepy to see that on the back of a jock?

Pedersen: Let's move on to the next one. Mike Smith wants to wear pinstriped pants. He says he can get us Yankee tickets when they're in town.

Samuel: Yeah, but then we'd have to watch the Dodgers or the Angels, and who's got the stomach for that?

Ward: We okayed those depressing black rain pants for Flores and those other guys. Kent's got a sponsor for every letter in his last name - Dairy Queen, Equitable, Sears, Ortho, Rolls Royce, MTV, clear down to the new "X-Men" movie. I don't see a problem with striped pants. Unless Smith rides for the Wilsons.

Pedersen: White and orange checks. I see your point. But we can't be fashion police. Perhaps a warning in the program would cover us.

Ward: What about this? The track has a new deal with Jack in the Box. They want that clown head to replace the number we put on the bridle. Will the rules let us do that?

Samuel: Never mind the rules of racing. What happens when Mike Pegram sees Jack on one of his horses?

Pedersen: That could present a conflict. Mike owns, I believe, about 18 McDonald's franchises. Perhaps the track will reconsider.

Samuel: This next one I can't believe. Can these owners really put a full-size photo of Jerry Garcia on the front and back of their colors?

Pedersen: I believe the applicants own a mortuary.

Ward: I think we're bordering on good taste here.

Samuel: What are you talking about? The Dead rule!

Pedersen: The real problem may be copyright and protected images. Are we to assume all these issues have been worked out?

Samuel: Is that our job?

Ward: Looks like it is now. Just like we had to learn chemistry in the old days.

Samuel: The good old days. Now you've got me missing the drug hearings, too.

Pedersen: We're running out of time. The rest will have to wait until tomorrow. Let's do this last one. The track has a lucrative contract to advertise Victoria's Secret on all the saddle towels in races for fillies and mares. With pictures.

Samuel: Sounds good to me.

Ward: I have no problem with that.

Pedersen: Meeting adjourned.