11/15/2001 12:00AM

Reynolds eyes repeat performance


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Pat Reynolds earned a great deal of success as well as notoriety for transforming Peeping Tom from a mid-level claimer to a graded stakes winner. Now, the trainer is hoping for lightning to strike again Saturday when he sends out Eltawaasul in the $150,000, Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap.

Reynolds claimed Eltawaasul for $50,000 in August on behalf of Christopher Connors, an owner who never had a horse make it to the races. In his first start for Connors, Eltawaasul won the Manila Stakes at The Meadowlands. Last month, he finished fourth, beaten less than a length, in the Grade 2 Knickerbocker Handicap at Belmont.

"We picked out this horse because he's nicely bred," Reynolds said of Eltawaasul, a 5-year-old son of Nureyev out of the Ogygian mare Grand Falls. "Now all his friends want him to claim a horse for them."

Connors, a 43-year-old retired stockbroker from Amityville, N.Y., owned a horse in partnership 10 years ago, but the horse never made it to the races.

"I wanted to claim a few and get some 2-year-olds," said Connors, who hopes his stable will grow to about eight horses. "I sought out Pat because he's a down-to-earth guy. You could ask him any question, no matter how elementary it may be, and he'll answer it without making you feel like an idiot."

In March, 2000, Reynolds claimed Peeping Tom for $40,000. Later that year Peeping Tom finished second in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, and this spring he won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap as well as other stakes. Next Saturday, Peeping Tom will again start in the Cigar Mile.

"Naturally, success does breed success," Reynolds said when asked if his success with Peeping Tom helped him land more clients. "We had a lucky year with Peeping Tom. Let's say it didn't hurt."

Reynolds was impressed with Eltawaasul's race at The Meadowlands. He was boxed in by Jerry Bailey, aboard Spindrift, but when John Velazquez found some running room, Eltawaasul finished with a flourish to get up on the wire.

In the Knickerbocker, Reynolds felt jockey Victor Espinoza should have had Eltawaasul closer to a dawdling pace. Sumitas took the race gate-to-wire after getting away with an opening-half mile in 51.24 seconds.

"The other day I felt we should have been lapped on," Reynolds said. "You can't let a good horse do that to you on a firm surface."

Reynolds said Eltawaasul's performance on Saturday will dictate where he spends the winter. Last winter, Eltawaasul wintered at the Fair Grounds with trainer Danny Peitz. He recorded a 2-1-1 record from five starts.

"If we run well Saturday in the Red Smith we won't be putting him on the shelf for the winter," Reynolds said. ``We'll take him somewhere. His record in Louisiana is pretty good and we're on hold for a couple of stalls in Florida. Can't stop on a grass horse when he's getting good."

Solid field for Valley Stream

Forest Heiress, who suffered her first career defeat in the Grade 2 Astarita Breeders' Cup, heads a talented field of six pointing to Sunday's $75,000 Grade 3 Valley Stream Stakes for juvenile fillies.

Earlier this week, Forest Heiress breezed five furlongs in 1:00.50 at Belmont, breaking off slowly and getting her last quarter in 23.34 seconds.

Forest Heiress, who will be ridden by Richard Migliore, will face a field that includes unbeaten Proper Gamble, impressive maiden winner On Parade, A New Twist, Cherokee Girl, and Vesta.

Vegas bettors crush pick four

Bettors in Las Vegas crushed the pick four wager on Thursday, creating a rare instance where the pick-four paid almost half the price of the final pick three.

The pick four, which had a pool of $117,000, returned $1,070 for $2 while the pick three, which had a pool of $76,000, returned $2,097 for $2.

According to Vince Hogan, the New York Racing Association's director of mutuels, of the 82 winning pick-four tickets, 49 of them were purchased in Las Vegas. Only one was bought on track. There were a total of 27 winning tickets of the pick three.

The pick four consisted of first-time starter Seeking Greatness ($8.80), longshot Barrage ($35), Nouvelle ($9.70) and Yavapi ($13.80). The parlay is $5,153.61.

Five-furlong bullet for Miss Linda

Miss Linda, the Spinster winner, drilled five furlongs in 59.85 seconds Thursday morning in preparation for the Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs next Thursday. It was the fastest of 11 works at the distance.

"She was awesome this morning," trainer John Kimmel said. "Her last quarter, she shaded 23 seconds and she galloped out in [1:12]. It was a very good work."

Commenting on the Falls City field, which is expected to include Breeders' Cup Distaff 1-2 finishers Unbridled Elaine and Spain, Kimmel said, "The winner of this will deserve to be the Eclipse Award winner."

* Evening Attire, the Discovery winner, breezed four furlongs in 47.65 seconds Thursday over the main track. Trainer Pat Kelly said the Queens County Handicap on Dec. 1 is under consideration.