11/25/2002 12:00AM

Pincay just keeps rolling along


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A sly grin crept across Laffit Pincay Jr.'s face when he heard a review of his accomplishments at Hollywood Park last week.

On three separate days, Pincay won three races. On Saturday, he won the top race of the week - the Grade 1 Hollywood turf Cup aboard Sligo Bay. Pincay took a commanding lead in the jockey standings as he seeks his third title in the last four years at the Hollywood Park fall meeting.

"I'm hot," he said with an even larger grin. "Sometimes you get on a roll."

At the start of the racing week, Pincay was second in the standings to Mike Smith, 10-9. By Sunday evening, he led with 20 winners, six more than Smith.

Pincay had three winners on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and two wins on Sunday. The wins pushed his career total to 9,468, an all-time record.

"I'm riding good horses and that's the main thing," he said. "I hope it can continue."

Pincay has mounts in all three of the $500,000 stakes in the six-race Autumn Turf Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday. On Saturday, he rides Nicobar in the $500,000 Citation Handicap. On Sunday, he rides Affluent in the Matriarch Stakes and Rock Opera in the Hollywood Derby.

Of the three, the front-running Rock Opera may be his best chance.

"I think he'll run a very good race," Pincay said. "He'll be tough. He always tries. They have to run to go by him."

Trained by Clifford Sise, Rock Opera won a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar in July and has since been third in the Del Mar Derby and second by a nose in the Oak Tree Derby.

Pincay is the only jockey who has ridden Rock Opera, who has run six times.

"Laffit fits about everything right now," Sise said. "He's riding unbelievably. You always like to have the hot rider."

Pincay's victory aboard Sligo Bay was his first in a Grade 1 since Sky Jack won the Hollywood Gold Cup in July. It was his first stakes win of the meeting. At Oak Tree, he won two stakes, both on California Cup day.

"What people don't realize is the most horses I ride are for Bill Spawr, and he doesn't have a stable of stakes horses," Pincay said.

Pincay will need to pad his lead in the jockey standings over the next few weeks. Last week, he dropped an appeal of a five-day suspension for causing interference during the Oak Tree meeting. He will miss five racing days, from Dec. 14-20.

Still, he could find himself in line for the riding title on the final weekend of the fall meeting, Dec. 21-22. That could create a new problem: where to store a trophy commemorating yet another milestone.

"There's always a place you can put it," he said.

Let the festivities begin

The Turf Festival includes three races worth $200,000. The series begins on Friday with two $200,000 races - the Miesque for 2-year-old fillies at a mile and the Turf Express at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Aside from the Citation, Saturday's program includes the $200,000 Generous Stakes for 2-year-olds at a mile.

The Citation field is led by Good Journey, who was third in the Breeders' Cup Mile. He will face Capsized, Decarchy, Investor's Dream, Kachamandi, Kimberlite Pipe, Nicobar, Night Life, Night Patrol, Seinne, Touch of the Blues, and White Heart.

Forbidden Apple will pass the race in favor of the Great State Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park on Dec. 7.

The Matriarch field will be small, and is led by Golden Apples, the winner of the Beverly D. Stakes and Yellow Ribbon Stakes this year, and a leading contender for the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding filly or mare on turf. Aside from Affluent, her competition includes Choc Ice, Dress to Thrill, Tout Charmant, and the Juddmonte Farms entry of Banks Hill and Tates Creek.

Banks Hill will be ridden by Jerry Bailey, who will have the mount on Royal Gem in the $500,000 Hollywood Derby.

Johar may be the Derby favorite. He won the Oak Tree Derby in his last start at Santa Anita in mid-October. Aside from Rock Opera, the other probables are Century City, Inesperado, Manaman McLir, Music's Storm, Surprized, and Union Place.

Another good one for Frankel

Trainer Bobby Frankel unveiled a promising 2-year-old filly on Saturday when Dash for Money overcame a poor start to score a convincing win against maidens.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Dash for Money broke three lengths behind the field. She was last of five on the turn, but gradually made up ground on pacesetter J's Crafty Cat, taking the lead in the final furlong. Dash for Money won by 2 3/4 lengths, finishing 6 1/2 furlongs in a modest 1:18.02.

Frankel expected a come-from-behind performance.

"I wasn't worried about it," Frankel said of the start.

Frankel is chasing trainer D. Wayne Lukas's season earnings record of $17,842,358. Through Sunday, Frankel's runners have earned more than $16.6 million this year, and he could surpass Lukas's record with a huge weekend.

Licht new CHRB chairman

Roger Licht, 48, will serve as chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, effective Jan. 1. Licht replaces Alan Landsburg, whose term as chairman expires at the end of the year.

Licht was nominated to the position at a CHRB meeting last week.

A partner in a Beverly Hills law firm, Licht has been a member of the CHRB since February 2001. His term on the board runs through July 26, 2004.

Licht is the vice-chairman of the CHRB. In the last year, he has been one of the more vocal members of the board on a variety of issues, including the development of advance deposit wagering.

Licht, a horse owner, will be replaced as vice-chairman by John Harris, 59. An active owner and breeder, Harris has served on the CHRB for two years. His current term ends on July 26, 2003.