05/27/2004 11:00PM

Reba's Gold has done this before


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Excuse Dan Hendricks for resurrecting an old Yogi-ism, but he says he hopes Monday's $125,000 Grade 3 Seabiscuit Breeders' Cup Handicap will be a case of deja vu all over again.

Hendricks will saddle defending champion Reba's Gold in the 1 1/16-mile race, which will probably have a field of five. And, like last year's race, in which Reba's Gold made his first start in six months, Reba's Gold enters the race following a long layoff; his last race was a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Goodwood on Oct. 4.

"The horse is doing great," Hendricks said of Reba's Gold, a 7-year-old. "Everything's about the same. Last year, he was coming off a hard campaign. This year, he's coming off a poor performance. He was a little stiff in the hock, so we gave him time. He's as healthy as can be. We've looked at the hock after each workout, and it's fine."

There aren't many gradedstakes-winning 7-year-old horses running these days. Most of them have been sent to the breeding shed, and that may be Reba's Gold's ultimate destination. But Hendricks would like to run his star for at least two more years.

"We feel he's such a sound horse he can go on," Hendricks said. "He had a slight chip by a rear sesamoid as a young horse, but he hasn't given us a reason to stop. I don't see any difference in him at 5, 6, or 7. He's only run 34 times. That's not a lot for a 7-year-old.

Hendricks and Alex Trebek, owner of Creston Farms, which owns Reba's Gold, think getting Reba's Gold a Grade 1 win or increasing his bankroll to $1 million would greatly increase the horses's stud value. Reba's Gold has earned $694,922.

Hendricks has enjoyed success with comebackers such as Reba's Gold.

"I've tried to find easy spots," he said. "If you give horses time off, they should come off their layoffs better than when they went away."

Hendricks jokes he has a built-in excuse if Reba's Gold doesn't repeat Monday.

"He stayed at the farm, and they trained him up to one-half mile before I got him," he said. "Last year, I had him from the beginning."

* Adreamisborn meets six rivals Sunday in an $80,000 optional claimer at one mile on the grass. A winner of two straight over the turf here, Adreamisborn will trail early, but should be tough in the lane chasing a contentious pace. Vallarta, a stakes winner over the course, also runs.