12/29/2003 1:00AM

Redattore convinces owner he's too good to retire


ARCADIA, Calif. - Redattore has earned another season at the racetrack after winning Sunday's $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap at Santa Anita.

Prior to the Grade 2 turf race, owner Luis Alfredo Taunay had considered retiring Redattore to stud. After the race he told trainer Richard Mandella by telephone that Redattore will stay in training.

"He hates to retire him if he's running that well," Mandella said.

There is no doubt that Redattore, who turns 9 on Jan. 1, is in outstanding form, arguably the best of his career. The San Gabriel Handicap was his fourth stakes win of 2003, pushing his seasonal earnings to $864,147.

"He's making too much money to retire," Mandella said.

Redattore ($4.80) gave jockey Alex Solis his third win on Sunday.

For most of the San Gabriel, Solis kept Redattore in second, stalking Denied through a slow pace of 24.16 and 48.14 seconds. Redattore moved closer on the final turn, took the lead in early stretch, and pulled clear to win by two lengths. He finished 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.17.

"I didn't think he'd win that easily," Mandella said. "The way he worked last week astonished us, so I was not surprised that he ran well."

Continental Red, the 2002 California-bred horse of the year, rallied from eighth to finish second, 2 1/2 lengths in front of Denied in the field of nine.

Redattore will be pointed for a defense of his title in the Frank Kilroe Mile on turf on March 6, Mandella said. Redattore has won 15 of 32 starts, 11 stakes, and $1,799,883.