11/04/2002 12:00AM

Pincay tops Oak Tree meet


ARCADIA, Calif. - Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., won his third consecutive riding title at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting that ended on Sunday and said he has sights set on the Hollywood Park fall meeting that begins Wednesday.

Pincay, 55, is the senior member of the Southern California jockey roster and the world's all-time leading rider with 9,448 victories through Sunday. He said Sunday that he has no definite plans for a late-year vacation during the seven-week Hollywood Park meeting.

"I'll see how I feel," he said. "Maybe during the last part I'll take some days off. It depends on how it goes."

Pincay finished the Oak Tree meeting with 27 wins, followed by Patrick Valenzuela (26) and David Flores (25). While those jockeys spent time traveling to major stakes around the country, Pincay concentrated on the Oak Tree meeting.

"It's nice to win," Pincay said. "Anytime you have a chance to be a leading rider, it's very prestigious."

Pincay was winless on Sunday, but had two stakes wins on Saturday's California Cup program: Lil Sister Stich in the Distaff and Calkins Road in the $250,000 Classic.

Trainer Jack Carava won his first training title at a Santa Anita meeting, finishing with 14 winners, five more than Bob Baffert. Carava won the last three races on the Oct. 30 program to pull away from the other trainers.

Business during the 26-day meeting was off compared with last year, according to information supplied by track officials. Average attendance was 10,136, a decline of 4 percent. Ontrack handle declined an estimated 6 percent.

Track officials declined to announce complete handle figures until later this week, when data from telephone and Internet sources would be available.

Sherwood Chillingworth, executive vice president of Oak Tree Racing Association, cited competition from the Anaheim Angels, who won the World Series, as a contributing factor in the attendance decline.

The meeting lost ground in attendance on Saturday when only 28,313 people were at the track for the California Cup program. Last year's event drew 37,206.

"I thought we'd get 40,000 people. It's impossible to explain," Chillingworth said. "We looked for a fantastic day. I was very disappointed, even though it was the biggest crowd we had."