07/18/2001 11:00PM

Racing's Energizer bunny keeps on winning


DEL MAR, Calif. - Laffit Pincay Jr. started the Del Mar meeting on Wednesday the same way he finished at Hollywood Park on Monday: Sitting atop a tough group of jockeys.

Pincay won three races on Wednesday's nine-race program, all for trainer Bill Spawr. No other jockey or trainer won more than one race. Pincay, 54, is a leading contender for the riding title, attempting to win his third straight on the circuit, having started the year with success at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

"I feel great, especially after winning the title," Pincay said after Wednesday's ninth race. "The adrenaline is going."

Spawr was equally delighted with his start, his best day of the year. On two occasions at Santa Anita in January, he won two races. On Wednesday, Spawr had seven starters, two of whom finished second.

"What happened to the ones that ran second?" Spawr joked. "It was a good start."

Spawr finished second in the standings at the 2000 Del Mar meeting with 15 winners, 17 behind Bob Baffert, who won his fourth consecutive title. Spawr, who tied for the training title at this meeting in 1990 and won it outright in 1994, does not have visions of success this year.

"Baffert will have to close down," his barn, he said.

Spawr has 32 runners based at Del Mar and 40 at Santa Anita. It is mostly a claiming stable - three horses were claimed on Wednesday - with the exception of Kitty on the Track, the 4-year-old sprinter whose goal for the meeting is the Rancho Bernardo Handicap on Aug. 19. The Spawr stable won the Rancho Bernardo in 1999 with Enjoy the Moment.

"We're running horses where they belong," Spawr said. "We didn't give anything away."

The Pincay-Spawr team won with a variety of horses on Wednesday. To an enthusiastic reception from a large crowd, Pincay guided favored Our Man Red ($5.20) to victory in the first race for $25,000 claimers.

Spawr lost with his next four starters, including the two second-place finishers, before he and Pincay teamed up again for Bafferta ($9.80), who won a $53,000 allowance race for fillies and mares in the seventh race.

In the finale, Daring General, who was fourth in the 1998 Breeders' Cup Juvenile before he became a claiming horse, won at the $16,000 level for Spawr and Pincay as the 2-1 favorite.

"I thought I had some good mounts," Pincay said. "It worked out fine. They all ran good today."

Pincay, who through Wednesday had won a world record 9,186 races, last won the riding title at Del Mar in 1985, a year in which he won one stakes at the meeting - the Del Mar Futurity aboard Tasso.

Pincay has won five Del Mar riding titles, the first of which came in 1976. Last year, he finished third in the standings, with 29 wins. Victor Espinoza had 51 and Kent Desormeaux 32. While Pincay would be the favorite for the riding title based on recent form, he does not see himself as a leading choice.

"Right now, I don't think about it," he said. "I want to relax."

Pincay is already taking it easy in the mornings. He prefers a trip to the gym for exercise instead of working horses.

"I don't work in the mornings," he said. "At Hollywood, I think I only worked one horse. I should, but I don't have the energy to do that."

Pincay said that he may shoot for the title later at this meeting.

"If I find myself close for the lead, I'll go for it," he said.

Chances are he will have a very busy second half of the Del Mar meeting next month.