10/26/2007 12:00AM

Spring House can end his skid

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Spring House might have loved the conditions at Monmouth Park on Saturday. The 5-year-old gelding's last win was over a wet Monmouth turf course labeled good.

Spring House, however, would have been outclassed in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Instead, he runs 1 1/2 miles Sunday in the Grade 3 Carleton F. Burke Handicap at Santa Anita. The turf course will be dry, and the competition will be modest. It is the right spot for Spring House to end an eight-race, 14-month losing streak.

A mishmash field of 10 older horses entered the $100,000 Burke, as the racing season slogs onward the day after the Breeders' Cup. The question facing Spring House: Is he good enough to win a Grade 3?

"I think he is," trainer Julio Canani said, pointing to the gelding's most recent start Aug. 26 in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap. Spring House was knocked out of position by After Market on the backstretch, fanned wide into the lane, and finished well for third.

"He only got beat three-quarters," Canani pointed out. "The horse is doing good."

Spring House supposedly was doing well early this month when he entered the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Handicap on Oct. 6, but Canani scratched him from that 1 1/4-mile race.

"The distance was too short," Canani said; he also suggested there were other reasons to scratch. "I don't want to talk about it," Canani said.

Spring House worked seven furlongs four days after the scratch, and faces an easier field in the Burke. While Spring House is trying to win his first stakes, his new jockey has been piling them up at a record pace.

Garrett Gomez had won 62 stakes this year (through Thursday) in North America, seven short of the single-season record of 70 set by Jerry Bailey in 2003. Sunday marks Gomez's return to Southern California; he plans to stay through the winter meet.

Spring House, who has improved since transferring to Canani three starts back, has won 4 of 27. He faces a familiar cast in the Burke. Runaway Dancer, winner of the Burke way back in 2003, is the 117-pound topweight. An 8-year-old gelding, Runaway Dancer has won 8 of 41, and will benefit from the longer distance after finishing sixth in the 1 1/4-mile Hirsch.

Atlando finished fifth in the Del Mar Handicap in his last start, while upstart Rush Rush has won 3 of his last 4 allowance starts. Others in the field include Porfido, Niagara Causeway, One Off, Republican Hawk, Caribbean, and Isipingo. The Burke is race 8 on a 10-race card.