02/25/2005 1:00AM

Runway Model New Orleans-bound


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Runway Model has been diligently preparing for her seasonal debut, and is on pace to make her first start of the year in the Grade 2, $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 12, said her trainer, Bernie Flint.

Rafael Bejarano has the mount on Runway Model. He was aboard for her win in the Grade 2, $200,000 Golden Rod in her last start Nov. 27, and also guided her to a third-place finish behind eventual champion Sweet Catomine in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Runway Model has worked three times at her Oaklawn Park base since returning from a freshening, with her last move a five-furlong drill in 1:00.80. It was the third fastest of 33 works at the distance on Feb. 21.

"She did that quite easy," said Flint. "She's pretty much ahead of herself right now. If everything goes right, we're going to go to the Fair Grounds Oaks."

Aside from the Golden Rod, her other major win last year was the Grade 2, $400,000 Alcibiades at Keeneland.

Chindi pushing $1 million mark

Chindi, who won his first start as an 11-year-old on Feb. 5, could achieve millionaire status Sunday in the featured ninth race. Chindi is one of eight horses in the six-furlong race, a money allowance that carries an optional claiming price of $80,000.

Among his rivals are That Tat, Level Playingfield, and Engineered.

Chindi will hit $1 million in earnings if he runs third or better in the race, which has a purse of $37,000. Chindi is $2,762 shy of the milestone.

Chindi will break from the far outside under regular rider Tim Doocy. He races for Carol Ricks and is trained by Steve Hobby. He was considered for the race after working four furlongs in a sharp 48.40 seconds on Feb. 20. In his most recent start, Chindi won an allowance by a length and earned an 89 Beyer Figure.

Engineered brings the highest last-race Beyer into the race, earning a 105 for his valiant second-place finish in the $50,000 King Cotton on Feb. 5. He closed with a rush under Calvin Borel, who has the return call for trainer Hal Wiggins.

Level Playingfield was third in the King Cotton, and last year won the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint for trainer Bob Holthus.

That Tat was a close fifth in the King Cotton, and has since worked four furlongs in a bullet 46.80 for trainer Cole Norman.

Smarty veteran cares for 'Rocky'

Mario Arriaga, who was Smarty Jones's groom last year, has returned from a vacation, and will now be caring for Rockport Harbor. Arriaga arrived from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness last year for trainer John Servis.

* Smoke Smoke Smoke, a recent allowance winner at Oaklawn, will make his next start in the $50,000 Mountain Valley for 3-year-olds at six furlongs, said his trainer, Mac Robertson.

* Kota, the third-place finisher in the $50,000 Martha Washington last Monday, will make her next start in the $75,000 Honeybee for 3-year-olds on March 20, said Holthus.

* Catboat, who finished third to Casual Attitude and Island Sand in the $50,000 Pippin, is being pointed for the Grade 3, $175,000 Azeri Breeders' Cup on March 12, according to Flint.