12/27/2007 1:00AM

Rider Quinonez showing he belongs

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Six months after he arrived from a successful run in Kentucky, jockey Alonso Quinonez has replicated his success in Southern California.

And he has done so despite losing his coveted apprentice allowance, staking his place in an increasingly tough group of jockeys.

At the Hollywood Park fall meeting that ended last Saturday, Quinonez finished with 14 wins, good enough for eighth place in the rider standings.

He lost his apprentice allowance in November and shortly after served a three-day suspension. When Quinonez returned, he responded by winning two races on Nov. 29.

"That felt good," said Quinonez, 24. "I think you have to have confidence in yourself. I thought that [Hollywood] went good over all."

Quinonez has the support of trainers for the start of the Santa Anita meeting.

On Friday, he has three mounts, including Rivergrade Boy in a $52,000 allowance for 2-year-olds. On Saturday, he rides in 6 of the 10 races, including Standing High in the $75,000 Eddie Logan Stakes for 2-year-old males over a mile on turf.

The key to having any chance for a big Santa Anita meeting is to put in the hours, especially in the mornings, he said. Quinonez was reminded of that when he arrived Wednesday morning to work horses and saw several other top riders doing the same thing.

"This business can be tough," he said. "I hope to work hard and see if people will use me. If you don't work hard in the mornings, you won't get rides."

Cathrine's Hope good, bad, good . . .

Cathrine's Hope has shown a pattern of erratic form in recent months. She runs well in one race, then follows with a disappointing performance.

Her trainer and co-owner, Lewis Cenicola, hopes the trend continues for at least one more race - when Cathrine's Hope makes her graded stakes debut in Saturday's $250,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs.

After winning an optional claimer on the hillside turf course on Oct. 17, Cathrine's Hope followed with a dull ninth-place finish in the California Cup Distaff on Nov. 3. She has not started since.

"She's been doing good since the Cal Cup," Cenicola said. "I freshened her a little bit. She had been running hard."

A winner of 4 of 16 starts and $207,812, Cathrine's Hope was intended to start in the Kalookan Queen Handicap for female sprinters on Friday, but the race did not draw sufficient entries.

"I would like to have run in the Kalookan Queen, but there's nothing you can do," Cenicola said. "It would have been an easier spot."

The Grade 1 La Brea has drawn a field of 14, but lacks a standout. The field includes Ashley's Kitty, the winner of the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes in May; Dawn After Dawn, who finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks; Dearest Trickski, who has won 6 of her last 7 starts, all in allowance races or claimers; and Silky Smooth, who was second in the Ramser Handicap on turf here in October.

Cenicola, who co-owns Cathrine's Hope with his wife, Donna, and Lawrence and Ann Jett, is hoping that Cathrine's Hope's style as a late-running sprinter will work in the La Brea.

"We'll take a shot," he said. "I'd be happy to hit the board and get stakes-placed in a Grade 1."

Bilo runs for new connections

Bilo, the winner of the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap in July and the California Cup Sprint last month, has been bought by Scott and Wayne Anastasi and Dan Capen and turned over to trainer Mike Mitchell.

Mitchell said recently that the California-bred Bilo will be pointed for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita on Jan. 26. The Sunshine Millions Classic is restricted to California-breds and Florida-breds and is run over 1 1/8 miles.

Bilo has not started since the California Cup Sprint. The race was run days after his breeder and former owner, Edward Nahem, died. Bilo was previously trained by Marty Jones.

Though Bilo has excelled in sprints and has not run beyond 7 1/2 furlongs, Mitchell is not worried about running the 7-year-old gelding in longer races.

"I've got no reason why he couldn't" go longer, Mitchell said.

Pussycat Doll gets fresh start

Pussycat Doll, the winner of Gradeo1 races in each of the last three seasons, worked a half-mile in 49.40 seconds on Wednesday, preparing for a possible defense of her title in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap on Jan. 27.

Pussycat Doll was bought by Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stable for $2.3 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale in November. The 5-year-old mare was previously owned by Mike Pegram, and won 7 of 17 starts and $797,183 for him.

Pussycat Doll has stayed with trainer Bob Baffert. For him, she won the 2005 La Brea Stakes, 2006 Humana Distaff and 2007 Santa Monica Handicap - all Grade 1. She has won three other stakes, including the Storm Flag Flying Stakes at Belmont Park in October in her most recent start.

This is the first time that the Jacksons, best known as the owners of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, have had a horse in training with Baffert, the trainer said.

Cry and Catch Me, the winner of the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes at the Oak Tree meeting here in September, has returned to Baffert's stable after recovering from an illness. She is several months from a start, Baffert said.

"We stopped on her completely," he said, adding that she is unlikely to run until summer.

Owned by Stetson Land and Cattle, Cry and Catch Me has won 2 of 3 starts and $191,000.

Idiot Proof works fast

Idiot Proof, the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27, worked a half-mile in 59.40 on Wednesday, which equaled the fastest of 18 recorded works at the distance.

Trained by Clifford Sise for Marty and Pam Wygod, Idiot Proof is expected to start in the $100,000 El Conejo Handicap over 5 1/2 furlongs here on Tuesday.