11/30/2001 12:00AM

Skiffington stays put


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Few people would have blamed trainer Tom Skiffington if he had left California earlier this week. Last Sunday, Spook Express, his top turf mare, was euthanized after suffering an injury during the running of the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes.

Spook Express was the reason Skiffington came to California with three horses this fall. Even though the other two still had races to run, Skiffington could have retreated to Florida, his winter base.

"I've had some bad days but Sunday was the toughest," Skiffington said. "It scars you for life."

Skiffington was talking at barn 51 at Hollywood Park, where he is overseeing the training of The Parting Glass, a 4-year-old filly, and Reduit, a 3-year-old. Both will start in coming weeks - The Parting Glass in next Saturday's $70,000 Waya Handicap and Reduit in an allowance race on Dec. 16.

The Parting Glass won an allowance race over 1 1/4 miles at Hollywood Park on Thanksgiving and has never started over the Waya distance of 1 1/2 miles.

She impressed jockey Kent Desormeaux with her win in the allowance race.

"She's got a beautiful stride," Desormeaux said. "All indications are she can get the distance with her stride."

By Bahri, The Parting Glass needed 10 races to win her maiden, but won the allowance race in her following start.

"Hopefully, it will all come together," Skiffington said. "The family really matures late. I've always had really high hopes for her."

Skiffington's stable will move to Palm Beach Downs in Florida later this month to set up for winter racing. Next year, he is considering bringing more horses to Southern California for November and December.

The loss of Spook Express is constantly on Skiffington's mind. His voice grows quiet when he talks of her, her final race, and the support he received from fellow trainers.

Shortly after the incident, trainer Bobby Frankel, who won the Matriarch Stakes with Starine, was among many trainers who offered their condolences.

"Even though he won the race, I think Bobby felt as bad as I did," Skiffington said. "All of us horsemen have been through it. The people at Hollywood and the trainers here have been very kind to me. I really appreciate it."

'Irisheyes' waits for Santa Anita

One name missing from the nomination list for next Sunday's feature, the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap over 1 1/8 miles, is Irisheyesareflying, who won the California Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

He is being pointed for the major handicaps of the Santa Anita winter meeting, according to trainer John Dolan. Last March, Irisheyesareflying finished fourth in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.

Malibu next for Waingarth

Waingarth, who finished second in the On Trust Handicap for California-breds on Nov. 22, will make his next start in the $200,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, trainer John Sadler said.

Waingarth finished a head behind Stormy Jack in the On Trust, which was run over 7 1/2 furlongs. Sadler is optimistic that Waingarth will be effective in the seven-furlong Malibu.

"I think he kinds of fits in there," Sadler said. "He ran a good race against older horses."

Waingarth joins a growing list of Malibu probables, including Early Flyer, I Love Silver, Millennium Wind, Mizzen Mast, San Nicolas, and Yonaguska.

Sadler said Ceeband, the beaten favorite in the On Trust, will be given a brief break. He may start next in the $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap over six furlongs at Santa Anita on Jan. 27.