11/03/2003 12:00AM

O'Neill has two good shots to break record

Email

ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Doug O'Neill needs one victory this week at Santa Anita to break Bob Baffert's record for most wins at the brief Oak Tree meeting.

Baffert recorded 21 wins in 1998 and 1999, a number O'Neill equaled last Friday.

Wednesday, O'Neill has two chances to reach 22 wins when Spirited starts in the second race and Long Gone Con starts in the fifth.

"I think either one of those horses has a chance to win," O'Neill said.

Spirited runs in a starter allowance for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, having won a maiden claimer at six furlongs on Oct. 9 in her third career start. She led throughout that race under Julie Krone and may try similar tactics in a field that lacks another clear front-runner.

Long Gone Con returns to the main track after four turf races, including a victory against $80,000 claimers on June 26, the day O'Neill and a partnership claimed the 5-year-old gelding.

Long Gone Con has won 5 of 21 starts overall and 3 of 11 on the main track. Racing on dirt, Long Gone Con won an allowance race against California-breds at Hollywood Park in June 2002 and an optional claimer at Bay Meadows in October 2002.

Long Gone Con is the lone starter entered to be claimed for $62,500. The race includes Atouratoura, who was fourth in the Pomona Derby, and Ender's Shadow, a sharp winner of an allowance race at Hollywood Park in June, who is making his second start after a layoff.

The optional claimer was divided into two races. The second division is the seventh race. The top contenders include Guardian, Infinite Faith, Spicy Stuff, and Tribe.

Guardian has yet to start in California, having raced in other parts of the country for owners Gary and Mary West. A 3-year-old, Guardian joined trainer Bobby Frankel's stable in the spring, and promptly won a maiden race and an allowance race at Belmont Park before finishing third in a seven-furlong allowance race at Saratoga in mid-August.

Infinite Faith finished first in the Phil Shepherd Stakes at Fairplex Park on Sept. 13, but was demoted to second for causing interference in deep stretch. Infinite Faith returned to finish third in an allowance race on Oct. 11.

Tribe ran well at Fairplex Park, finishing second in the Pomona Derby. Spicy Stuff, entered for a $62,500 claiming price, was second on Oct. 10.