12/29/2001 1:00AM

San Pedro wins Louisiana 'Cap


NEW ORLEANS - The Illinois breeding program is going crazy in New Orleans. A week after Illinois-breds ran one-two in the Woodchopper Handicap at Fair Grounds, the Illinois-bred San Pedro, outfitted with a new set of blinkers, won the $75,000 Louisiana Handicap on Saturday.

San Pedro stalked the pace while saving ground and rallied in the stretch under a heavy drive by jockey Ray Sibille to beat 34-1 shot Remington Rock by 1 3/4 lengths. Remington Rock finished more than two lengths clear of Valhol, the favorite, who was up for third by a head. San Pedro, a 9-1 shot, paid $21.20 to win and ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.77. With the biggest win of his career, the 3-year-old San Pedro ran his record to five wins in 10 starts.

Though San Pedro ran in an allowance race here only 12 days ago, finishing second by a half-length, trainer Joseph "Spanky" Broussard said he had targeted the Louisiana Handicap all along. The colt's last performance prompted Broussard, on Sibille's advice, to add blinkers to San Pedro's racing equipment. "I think the blinkers really helped him," Broussard said.

"The whole time in his last race he was just galloping along," Sibille said. "He was still passing horses, but I said, 'If we can get this horse running . . .' "

And, San Pedro ran. Breaking alertly, he stalked a moderate early pace set by Freon Flier, who was joined on the backstretch by Frazee's Folly. Sibille guided San Pedro off the rail turning for home and the colt picked up the pace, getting to the leaders at the furlong marker and drawing clear in deep stretch.

Broussard said San Pedro is likely to pass the next stakes race for older horses here and race again Feb. 10 in the Whirlaway Handicap. San Pedro's main spring goal is the New Orleans Handicap.