01/10/2004 1:00AM

'Shiloh' stays undefeated

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NEW ORLEANS - Two months and two races ago Shiloh Bound was a maiden claimer. Now he is a stakes winner. Shiloh Bound went to the lead Saturday in the $60,000 Black Gold Handicap at Fair Grounds. Bachelor Blues, a graded stakes winner last summer, looked him in the eye and gained an advantage in midstretch, but Shiloh Bound battled on and won by a half-length.

Shiloh Bound ran his record to three wins in three starts. On Dec. 21, he won a dirt sprint by a nose. Saturday, he paid $33.80 to win, running about 7 1/2 furlongs on a firm course in 1:32.51. Bachelor Blues clearly held second over Bogangles, the 9-5 favorite.

Shiloh Bound cost just $13,000 as a yearling, which is why the trainer Walter Bindner started him off in a $45,000 maiden claimer last November at Churchill Downs. Shiloh Bound won that day, didn't start again until his allowance win here, and was entered in the Black Gold, his trainer said, in hopes the race would come off grass.

"They were forecasting rain, so I was hoping that the race might come off and we could see if he likes two turns on dirt," Bindner said. "But I'm quite happy that it turned out that he liked the turf."

Jockey Jose Riquelme, who is in the midst of his second hot streak at this meet, let Shiloh Bound come out of the gate running. He ran a quarter-mile in 24.04 seconds and a half in 48.58 while Bachelor Blues waited in second. Bachelor Blues appeared to easily move to the lead at the top of the stretch, but Shiloh Bound never quit.