04/22/2002 11:00PM

Streaking Monrow rewards trainer's patience

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - It's often said that good things come to those who wait, and it's proven true for trainer Lonnie Arterburn.

Arterburn's patience with Monrow, a 6-year-old mare who looms the probable favorite in Thursday's feature race at Bay Meadows, has been rewarded with the mare's two victories, a second, and a third in five starts this year.

Monrow will try to improve her career record to 5 for 5 over the Bay Meadows Longden Turf Course, when she meets five rivals in a $50,000 optional claimer for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

In her last three starts, Monrow has defeated similar competition at Golden Gate Fields and at Bay Meadows, and she finished a strong third behind stakes-winning Super Tuesday. All three races were on the turf.

Bella Thoroughbreds transferred Monrow to Arterburn from trainer Joshua Litt in Southern California late last summer.

"She hadn't been running well for a while," Arterburn said.

Arterburn dropped her to $25,000 and entered her in a 1 1/16-mile turf race at Bay Meadows on Sept. 16.

She won and repeated when moved up to $40,000 eight days later.

Legal issues involving Monrow's owners kept Arterburn from running her or stablemate Sempai while legal proceedings were under way.

"I kept Sempai and this mare to make sure they didn't get hurt on a farm [where other race horses owned by Bella Thoroughbreds were taken]," Arterburn said. "I just walked her and Sempai [4 for 4 this year, including three wins after being claimed from Arterburn in his comeback] for a month."

The horses were put in a receivership called the Miners Trust Receivership as part of the legal proceedings, and Arterburn was told he could continue to train them and could use earnings for past training fees.

"They did lose a month of training, and it took some time to get them re-fit," he said.

He started Monrow in a $40,000 optional claiming sprint at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 2. She finished fourth, the race won by the talented Bullish Miss.

"It was a short field, and I thought she would run good enough to hit the board," Arterburn said. "Even though I sprinted her, it was getting obvious that she was best going long on the turf."

In four turf starts since, Monrow has finished second, first, third, and first, in order. Her last start was at Bay Meadows.

Despite her 4-for-4 record here, Arterburn doesn't think she is "a horse for the course."

"She ran pretty good at Golden Gate Fields," he said. "She's gotten a little bit smart. She's decided she likes grass the very best and does everything she needs to do to win."

Mile field taking shape

Trainers Bobby Frankel and Neil Drysdale have made decisions about Saturday's $250,000, Grade 2 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile.

Frankel will enter Decarchy, the 121-pound highweight. Drysdale, based in Southern California, will send up Sarafan, who gets in at 119, instead of Irish Prize, who would have been the co-highweight.

Redattore, Designed For Luck, Suances, and The Tin Man will also run. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is still weighing his options with Ninebanks, while the connections of Apache Wings are also still considering entering.