01/30/2003 1:00AM

O'Neill, McAnally hoping for the best


ARCADIA, Calif. - The trainers of Fleetstreet Dancer and Piensa Sonando are approaching Sunday's $300,000 San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita with low expectations.

Both Doug O'Neill, who trains Fleetstreet Dancer, and Ron McAnally, who has Piensa Sonando in his stable, are not expecting to beat Congaree in the San Antonio, which is run over 1 1/8 miles.

But with the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 1 as a long-term target, and Congaree instead under consideration for the $4 million Dubai World Cup on March 29, both trainers say they need to start their horses.

"If there was an easier spot, I'd go for it, but I don't see it," McAnally said.

Congaree has won his last two starts - the Cigar Mile and San Pasqual handicaps - and carries topweight of 123 pounds in the San Antonio. Also in the field are Milwaukee Brew (120), the winner of the 2002 Santa Anita Handicap, and Pleasantly Perfect (117), the winner of the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap last October.

Milwaukee Brew was third in the Breeders' Cup Classic last October, a race that Pleasantly Perfect missed because he bled in the Goodwood. Pleasantly Perfect has trained well in recent weeks.

"It will be a tough race," McAnally said. "I'm not afraid of Milwaukee Brew, but of the horse of Mandella's. . . ."

Piensa Sonando won the Native Diver Handicap over 1 1/8 miles at Hollywood Park on Dec. 14, but was only fourth in the San Pasqual over 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 4. Imported from Chile last year by Nelson Bunker Hunt, Piensa Sonando should be better over the longer distance.

"We have to build him up for the Big Cap, but this will be tough," McAnally said.

Fleetstreet Dancer was claimed for $40,000 in October by Ty and Leroy Leatherman. In two subsequent starts, he won an optional claimer on Nov. 11 and finished second in the Native Diver Handicap at 19-1, losing by a head after leading in midstretch.

He was considered for the San Pasqual, but was held out in favor of this race, in which he will carry 112 pounds.

"I think we're all running for second if the real Congaree shows up," O'Neill said. "But second or third, we'll take. The Big Cap is our dream. We just want to be competitive."

Avanzado going to Dubai, if invited

Avanzado, the winner of the Palos Verdes Handicap last Sunday, will be heading to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen Sprint, if he receives an invitation to that six-furlong race, O'Neill said.

In recent days, O'Neill said he has been in contact with Dubai officials about a possible trip, but that no official invitation has been extended.

O'Neill said Avanzado would not start again until the Dubai race.

"They don't give anything away for $2 million," O'Neill said. "The eight weeks between races would be perfect."

Pincay begins road to 10,000th winner

An hour after Laffit Pincay Jr. won the 9,500th race of his career on Wednesday, he pulled a shocking upset in an allowance race on the hillside turf course, aboard Brocky's Dream, who paid $73.40.

Even though Brocky's Dream won an allowance race for turf sprinters at Hollywood Park in November, the 5-year-old Australian-bred mare was ignored on Wednesday and sent off as the longest shot in the field.

Pincay had Brocky's Dream in fourth until the field crossed over the dirt, caught pacesetter Brisquette in midstretch, and held off a determined rally from Embassy Belle in the final sixteenth to win by a neck.

"Coming down the stretch, she moved nicely," Pincay said. "She ran a great race. We're on the road to 10,000."

With Pincay's fellow Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone riding Embassy Belle, the all-Hall of Fame rider $1 exacta returned $393.20.

Through Wednesday, Pincay was fourth in the standings with 22 winners, trailing leader Patrick Valenzuela by six. Last year at this meeting, Pincay finished third.

Stakes schedule heats up

The San Antonio is part of a strong weekend of stakes that begins with the Strub and San Vicente stakes on Saturday. All of the races will provide clues for the major stakes later at the meeting, such as the Santa Anita Handicap and $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 5.

There already have been three Grade 1 stakes and nine Grade 2 stakes run since the meeting opened on Dec. 26, and the pace now quickens with 19 Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes to be run between Saturday and Santa Anita Derby Day.

On nearly every weekend over the next two months there is a major stakes for 3-year-olds, including preps for the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks. In the next 10 days, 3-year-olds will compete in Saturday's San Vicente Stakes, Friday's restricted Sham Stakes, and the Las Virgenes Stakes for fillies on Feb. 9.

- On Thursday, Composure, the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, worked seven furlongs in 1:23.80. She is expected to run in the one-mile Las Virgenes.

- At Hollywood Park, Good Journey worked a half-mile in 47.40 seconds. Third in the Breeders' Cup Mile last October, Good Journey is being pointed for the Frank Kilroe Mile on turf on March 1.

- Jockey Chance Rollins, has relocated to Golden Gate Fields. Rollins was winless in 39 mounts at Santa Anita.