07/30/2001 11:00PM

Takedown of Pincay turns sunny crowd into boo-birds

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DEL MAR, Calif. - The disqualification in Monday's second race at Del Mar of a horse ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., the world's winningest jockey, stunned Pincay and resulted in vociferous booing from the fans in attendance, but was defended by Del Mar's three stewards.

Pincay's mount, odds-on favorite Revillew Slew, rallied on the outside and crossed the wire first. Rebuild Trust, with Kent Desormeaux, finished second while racing on the inside. Lunar Surprise, who was racing between those two horses, finished fourth after jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. was forced to check her with about 100 yards remaining. After viewing the videotape, the stewards disqualified Revillew Slew and placed her fourth, even though they admitted that Rebuild Trust had drifted farther to the right than Revillew Slew had drifted to her left.

Steward David Samuel said the stewards ruled that Desormeaux was allowed to drift on Rebuild Trust because "he was in the clear." Steward Ingrid Fermin added that the stewards believed that Pincay's mount, Revillew Slew, was "putting pressure" on Valdivia and Lunar Surprise and was "responsible" for Valdivia taking up.

"Laffit isn't in the clear. The only one who is in the clear is Kent," Samuel added. "You're entitled to any part of the track when you are clear."

The third steward, George Slender, said the stewards originally contemplated disqualifying both Revillew Slew and Rebuild Trust after looking at the head-on shot. But after viewing the pan shot, they believed Rebuild Trust crossed over while clear of Lunar Surprise.

"If you start with the idea of taking both down, but then see that one was clear, what are you left with but to disqualify the other horse?" Samuel said.

Pincay had watched the head-on shot during the inquiry, and stood with his mouth agape when track commentator Trevor Denman said his horse was disqualified.

"I was shocked," Pincay said later. "In my opinion, they made a mistake. I never bumped the other horse. I never bothered him. He pulled up behind Kent's horse. I don't know how they could say Kent's horse was clear. How could he be clear if Valdivia took up? That's whose heels he ran up behind. I don't understand it."

Neither, apparently, could the fans. In a rare incident in this laid-back atmosphere, a crescendo of boos cascaded through the grandstand when the disqualification was announced.

Figlio Mio may try a stakes

Figlio Mio, who won for the fourth time in five starts when he captured a second-level allowance race on Sunday, could make his stakes debut in the Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sept. 2, trainer Ben Cecil said Tuesday morning. Sunday's victory, in a one-mile race, came in Figlio Mio's first start around two turns. A 4-year-old son of Rubiano, Figlio Mio is now 3 for 3 since being gelded.

"It got him to settle down. We couldn't get him to work," Cecil said. "He was a real handful before he was cut. Since he was gelded, he doesn't carry as much weight, so he does well with extra time between his races."

Newport Beach injured

Newport Beach, a runaway maiden winner here the first week of the meet, suffered a tendon injury and will be sidelined indefinitely, according to Richard Mulhall, the racing manager for Prince Ahmed Salman's The Thoroughbred Corporation, which owns the 2-year-old filly.

Newport Beach had worked on Monday and came out of the drill with the injury, Mulhall said Tuesday. Newport Beach was scheduled to leave the barn of her trainer, Bob Baffert, on Tuesday afternoon to recuperate at The Thoroughbred Corp.'s farm in Bradbury, Calif.

Mulhall said it was too soon to tell if Newport Beach, a daughter of Maria's Mon, would be able to race again.

The defection of Newport Beach makes the expected small field for Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Sorrento Stakes even smaller. The field is scheduled to be headed by Georgia's Storm, who won the Grade 3 Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 7. Tempera, who beat Newport Beach in a Hollywood maiden race on July 4, is the main rival to Georgia's Storm. Tempera sizzled a half-mile in 46 seconds Tuesday at Del Mar. The time was the best of 33 at the distance.

* Saudi Poetry, preparing for Sunday's Grade 2, $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap for older fillies and mares, worked five furlongs in 58.60 seconds Tuesday at Del Mar for Baffert.

Go to Del Mar coverage.