03/02/2005 12:00AM

Reavis barn in fine form


CHICAGO - Trainer Mike Reavis did his best Ty Cobb impression during opening week of the National Jockey Club at Hawthorne race meet, hitting everything in sight.

Friday's opener was a slow day for Reavis, but Saturday he won two races. On Sunday came a breather, and then the Reavis barn really started cracking. Reavis sent out three winners Monday, another three on Tuesday. Five days into the meet, he was batting a cool .500, with eight wins from 16 starters.

No other trainer, including well-stocked Frank Kirby, has more than two victories.

"When you're ready and you've got bullets, and you've had a lot of practice doing this, you're supposed to hit the target," Reavis said.

Reavis's list of clients already was long and strong, but he has picked up a sizeable contingent of horses this meet for Chicago's leading owner, Frank Calabrese. And after the opening-week barrage, more might be on the way. Five of Reavis's wins came for Calabrese, including two each Monday and Tuesday. That rapid-fire pace was enough to keep even Calabrese happy.

"He loved it," Reavis said. "Some of these horses you get work out, some don't."

Reavis is all about that laissez-faire approach, but only in attitude, not action. The Reavis farm sits more than an hour south of Hawthorne, and Reavis's days begin at 2:30 a.m. "I get up without an alarm, always within five minutes of it," he said.

During training hours, often adorned with fringed chaps, always with cowboy hat, Reavis usually can be found out on the racetrack aboard a stout stable pony, watching his many sets of horses while fielding cell-phone calls. The horses pass at a modest clip; Reavis trains them slow and steady, and his early-season runners are more likely to show workouts at a mile than a half-mile.

That is what handicappers will see in Friday's featured seventh race here, a fourth-level allowance with a $50,000 claiming option. Reavis sends out He's Hammered, who was claimed Nov. 27 for $35,000, and won a third-level allowance three weeks later by almost five lengths. He's Hammered, owned by Maggi Moss, has a typical Reavis workout line, with two February breezes at a mile and two more slow five-furlong works.

There are five others in the mile and 70-yard race, including Cat Tracker, who ships from Kentucky for trainer Elliott Walden, and comes off a Feb. 16 win at Turfway Park. But He's Hammered is the one going for the hot Hawthorne barn. A one-turn horse for much of his career, He's Hammered appeared to move forward when he was stretched out to routes late last year. He is Reavis's lone starter on the Friday card, but there are more to come.

"We're not done yet," Reavis said. "At least I hope not."

Silver Bid full of himself after win

Silver Bid won the $42,000 Hula Chief Stakes on Saturday in his first start as a 7-year-old, but he came out of the race like a springy youth.

"He's doing absolutely super," trainer Joel Berndt said Wednesday. "We jogged him this morning, and he was bucking and squealing."

Silver Bid, an Illinois-bred, won the Hula Chief with speed to spare, but Berndt is not rushing him back into action. Silver Bid raced sparingly last season, winning 6 of 8 starts, and he might not race again until later in the meet, with his main goal the $100,000-added Chicagoland Handicap for Illinois-breds on April 30.

"I think right now the plan is to wait," Berndt said. "He loves that break between races."

Aging Polar Expedition back to work

Polar Expedition made a splash in these parts as a 2-year-old of 1993, and went on to have an excellent racing career, which extended through his ninth year. And now, at 14, Polar Expedition has come back to the racetrack.

The horse is at Hawthorne, where Hugh Robertson, his owner and old trainer, is trying to make a racetrack pony out of him.

"He was up in Wisconsin, doing hunter-jumper stuff," Robertson said. "I brought him in here the first of the year to try and make him a pony."

His progress has been uneven. This week, Polar Expedition has a sore mouth that is keeping him off the racetrack, but even before that minor physical problem, Polar Expedition had not entirely settled into his new career.

"He might make a pony for a better hand than me," Robertson said. "He wants to go out there and run when he gets to the racetrack. In fact, I'm pretty sure he could outrun anything in my barn if I let him."