11/10/2006 1:00AM

Short and sweet stint for Painter

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Jockey Leanne Painter is making the most of her late-season visit to Hastings. Based in Alberta, she chose to finish the year riding at Hastings after Northlands Park closed Oct. 22.

Painter has been popular with local trainers and has won five races from her first 27 mounts.

"I'm off to a fantastic start," she said. "I've been received warmly by everyone, and it's just been great."

One of the reasons Painter decided to keep riding was that she broke her collarbone in the spring, and the injury caused her to miss a large part of the Alberta racing season. Despite the injury, she has had a decent year, winning 69 races from 468 mounts. At the recently concluded Northlands Park meet, she finished fifth in the jockey standings with 52 wins.

"I missed 41 days of riding in the spring," she said. "I came back to Edmonton July 1, and I finished off the meet strong. I decided to come out here because I'm still fresh and eager to ride. I think one of the reasons I'm doing so well here is that I really want to be here, and I'm still enthusiastic about riding at the end of a long season."

Painter, 32, has been riding for eight years and has won 397 races from 3,075 mounts for career earnings of $5,291,386.

She said she is planning to take December off and is hoping to resume riding at Turf Paradise for a couple of months before heading back to Alberta. She is in the process of getting her work permits straightened out.

"I can ride Canadian-owned horses down there, but to make it worthwhile I'll need to get a work permit," she said. "It's a bit complicated, but I think I'll be able to get the paperwork done. I'm just hoping to ride enough horses to pay for what will really be a bit of a vacation."

Painter is also a seamstress and has plenty of business to keep her busy when she's not riding. She makes jockey silks, blinkers, and blankets. Most of her clients are in Alberta.

"I've been pretty productive since I came out here," she said. "With only two days of racing, I've been doing a lot of sewing, which is good, since I got a bit behind with some of my orders. It's nice to be able to catch up."

Painter also said there is a good chance she will come back to ride at Hastings at the end of the Alberta season next year. As well as she's going now, she should have plenty of business if she returns.

Maktub finally gets a race

Trainer Dino Condilenios has been a bit frustrated about not being able to run Maktub at Hastings this year. A 6-year-old gelding bred in Argentina, Maktub had won nine races from 19 starts in South America before arriving at Hastings in early July. He easily won his first three starts in Argentina this year, but has only made one start in North America, finishing fourth in a five-furlong allowance race at Emerald Downs on Oct. 1. Although he finished last in the four-horse field, he was only 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner, Starbird Road, and the final time of 55.20 seconds was just a fifth of a second off the world record for the distance.

"First, we had problems with the registration papers," said Condilenios. "After we got that all worked out, there just haven't been any races for him to run in."

Maktub has done his best work sprinting, and Condilenios said he was a bit concerned that Maktub could come up short when he runs in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race Sunday. Maktub prepared for the race by going 6 1/2 furlongs out of the gate in 1:17.40 last Sunday.

"I would be a lot more confident if he was sprinting," he said. "He grabbed a quarter when he ran at Emerald, and I had to back off of him for a while. That's kind of why I gave him that salty work the other day, and hopefully he won't bounce off of the work. It was a lot faster than I would have liked."

If Maktub comes out of his race in good shape, Condilenios said he plans to run him back in the closing-day feature, the Au Revoir, which is an unrestricted 1 1/16-mile allowance race.

"He's coming into Sunday's race in good shape, and I think he should be fit enough," he said. "The worst-case scenario is that we'll be ready for the Au Revoir."

Maktub, who is owned by Swift Thoroughbreds, will likely head to California after the Hastings meet ends. He will either end up with Carla Gaines in Southern California or, if Condilenios chooses to head south, with Condilenios in northern California.

"I'm not sure if I'm going or not," he said. "They have a very good trainer down there, and I think I would really enjoy about six weeks off. Everything is kind of up in the air right now. We're going to sit down and figure out what we want to do with some of the horses, and it's also possible we'll just turn them all out for the rest of the year."