07/03/2001 12:00AM

Reavis wheels, deals, and wins


CHICAGO - Without many people outside Chicago racing circles noticing, trainer Mike Reavis has won the last three training titles in this city. Reavis topped Hawthorne's fall-winter meet last year, led Sportsman's winter-spring meet this year, and won the title again at Hawthorne this spring.

All of which made it noteworthy when the prolific Reavis went 12 racing days here at Arlington, from the meet's inception until last Friday, without winning a race. On Friday, he broke out with a winner. On Sunday, there were two more. The summer is long, and the laconic Reavis, reached by phone Monday morning, hardly seemed panicky about his prospects.

The 45-year-old Reavis, an Illinois native with a flair for cowboy fashion, is a claiming trainer, and he doesn't resist the label. "I'm a horse trader, not a horse trainer," Reavis said. "I only train them when I have them."

Reavis's quiet spell here has partly to do with numbers. At Sportsman's and Hawthorne he has about 40 stalls, at Arlington about 30. Like other trainers, Reavis has to shuffle horses in and out of stalls and on and off area farms during Arlington's meet.

And besides, it's no secret that competition in Chicago intensifies during Arlington's meet.

"At Arlington, when you step up to the plate, it's four or five in there to beat," Reavis said. "You expect to win less here. Not because you're not any good, but because the competition's so much harder.

"Nothing against other horsemen," Reavis said, "but at Hawthorne and Sportsman's, if you have enough horses, and you know how to do it, you can win a lot of races. Realistically, you know there are one or two outfits you'll have to beat. You get past them and you're home free."

Reavis said he'll have a typically active summer buying and selling horses in the continuously cycling claiming business. "I've stopped trying to predict who's going to claim what, trying to get horses claimed," he said. "I just put them where I think they fit, and if they claim them, they claim them. You keep turning them over and hope for the best."

American Derby taking shape

What the first two finishers of Saturday's Grade 2 Arlington Classic, the first leg of the Mid-America Triple turf series for 3-year-olds, intend to do remains unclear. But the Classic's third-, fourth-, and fifth-place horses are likely to go on to the next leg of the series, the July 22 American Derby.

The California shipper Cherokee Kim, who made a solid stretch run to finish third, remains at Arlington in trainer Jerry Calvin's barn, and trainer Jerry Fanning said Cherokee Kim will be pointed for the 1 3/16-mile American Derby. So, too, will fourth-place finisher Fan Club's Mister, who set the early pace in the Classic, and Rahy's Secret, a disappointing fifth Saturday.

The Bill Mott-trained Baptize, the Classic winner, will be pointed for the Grade 1 Secretariat on Aug. 18, the series's final leg, and may or may not race in the American Derby. Last year the Mott-trained King Cugat won the Classic, skipped the American Derby, and ran in the Secretariat.

Trainer Elliott Walden said last month that he intended to point Indygo Shiner, who wound up second in the Classic, to the Secretariat. Walden could not be reached for comment early this week.

Alan's Mojo is the pick

Thursday's feature is a second-level turf allowance to be run at about one mile, a wonderful betting race that goes as race 7 on a nine-race program.

Perhaps one of the 12 horses entered can be eliminated with confidence, Yankee Brass, who has made but one start in two years. Take your pick after that.

The pick here is Alan's Mojo, a lightly raced 3-year-old from the barn of trainer Dennis Ebert, a good turf trainer. Alan's Mojo has made only seven career starts, only one of which came on grass, a quietly solid fourth-place finish last fall in a minor stakes at Calder Race Course.

By You and I, Alan's Mojo has demonstrated a touch of quality on dirt. He had little chance to win in his last start, a June 16 Arlington dirt mile in which he tried to run from far off the early pace on a speed-biased racing surface.

Apprentice jockey Zoe Cadman, who excels on the grass, rides Alan's Mojo, giving him as much as a 10-pound break in the weights from other contenders, such as Mighty Nice Bet and Color By d'or.

First-time turfer Bailey's Edge also rates a chance, for the Don Von Hemel stable.

Apt to Be could enter the Hanshin

Dick Duchossois, Arlington's former owner and now a major stockholder in Churchill Downs Inc., won the Grade 2 Honeymoon on Sunday at Hollywood with the recent European purchase Innit. This weekend, Duchossois could try for a graded stakes win in his own backyard with his homebred Apt to Be, who is among the possible starters for Saturday's Grade 2 Hanshin Handicap.

Formerly known as the Equipoise Mile, the Hanshin is run at one mile on the main track. Yankee Victor won last year's running but suffered a career-ending injury in the race and later had the win taken away for a drug positive.

Besides Apt to Be, six others were listed as possible starters by Arlington racing officials on Monday. The list includes Brite Valour, who earned first money in last year's Hanshin following Yankee Victor's disqualification; Globalize, last year's Spiral Stakes winner, who returned from a long layoff here on opening day; A'fire; Fan the Flame; Kombat Kat; and Tic N Tin.