12/08/2003 12:00AM

Opportunity knocks for rider Harvey


ALBANY, Calif. - Mounts for jockey Barrington Harvey are usually too few and far between.

But you don't ride 26 years without learning, and the 40-year-old Harvey showed his skills Sunday at Golden Gate Fields when he rode three winners for the second time in his career.

Harvey guided Mountain Minister to a $32 victory Saturday, moving from last to first to win a $32,000 maiden race at 1 1/16 miles.

On Sunday, Harvey, whose 13 wins this year have averaged payoffs of more than $26, rode to victory one favorite, one second choice, and one horse paying $10.60.

"I know he's capable enough given the right horse. I didn't have any qualms putting him on," said trainer Greg Gilchrist, whose favored Gypsy Jazz won his maiden by 3 1/2 lengths in a $32,000 claimer.

"If you watch him on longshots, he always has them placed where they should be and gets the best out of them," Gilchrist said. "He comes by on occasion to help me out, and I promised I'd give him a shot."

Harvey, who first worked at a racetrack at age 10, won with his very first mount in his native Jamaica at age 14. He also was the horse's groom.

His first win Sunday was aboard Clef Note, who seemed intent on rushing up inside where there was no space. Harvey relaxed his mount, guided him three wide, and won by one length.

"That's a natural after 26 years of professional experience," Harvey said. "You can tell how the horse feels and where to place him in a race."

Though he's usually aboard longshots, Harvey said, he tries as hard as he can.

"You must be on the top of your game all the time," he said. "When you get an opportunity, you must make the best of it."

And when victory comes, Harvey relishes it.

"I can't stop laughing," he said. "When I win races and I go home, I'm still laughing."

Odds snafu creates confusion

A frozen tote board on Friday at Golden Gate Fields led to wagering confusion at simulcast sites.

The tote board and the odds displayed on the simulcast signal's graphics froze about 15 minutes before the third race, a $32,000 claimer at five furlongs. Fans betting at automated machines ontrack saw the correct odds when they made their wagers.

Favored Perfect Judgment won the race paying $4.20, but he was listed at 9-2 on both the tote board and on graphics while the race was running. Arran Pilot, the runner-up, was listed at 3-5 but really went off at 4-1.

The malfunction is being investigated, and the corporate office of Magna Entertain-ment, the track's owner, has declined to comment.

Grand opening for equine hospital

Official ribbon-cutting ceremonies will be Saturday at noon for the new equine hospital at Golden Gate Fields, and an open house will be held until 2 p.m. for fans and horsemen.

The hospital, located at the south end of the grandstand, has been open during the current meeting, and 10 surgeries have already been performed in it.

Six ready for Gold Rush

Six 2-year-olds are listed as definite for Saturday's $75,000-added Gold Rush Stakes at one mile.

Corvallis Dee, the Gottstein Futurity winner, and Harvard Avenue, second in the Gottstein after winning the WTBA Lads at Emerald Downs, are planning to run. The Herc, who won the Golden Bear here earlier in the meet, is scheduled to return. Skipaslew, winner of the Gateway to Glory at Fairplex, is also planning to run.

Charbonnier and O.K. Mikie are also scheduled to go, while Hajji's Honor, winner of the San Mateo Stakes at Bay Meadows, is considered likely.

'Corazon' returns in feature

Que Facil Corazon, who set a pressured pace and was nipped late by Doc's Lil' Angel at 1 1/8 miles here on Nov. 16, appears the one to beat among seven fillies and mares in a $50,000 optional claimer at one mile. Doc's Lil' Angel will also run, but the primary threat may be 3-year-old Buccaneer Babe, who is coming off a first-condition allowance win.

Season of giving

Barrels have been placed around the grandstand and backstretch by the Race Track Chaplaincy, which is seeking donations of unwrapped gifts for children. Gifts will be accepted through Dec. 18 and will be distributed that night at the annual grooms' party.

* Glen Ellen Vocational Academy's annual stallion auction will continue through Sunday. More than 50 stallions are available for northern California's only nonprofit horse rescue and retirement foundation.

The farm currently houses 27 retired horses, including The Barking Shark and Governor Elect. The stallion auction is its primary source of funding for the year. For information, visit www.glenellenfarms.com and click on GEVA, or call (707) 527-8092.