08/14/2001 11:00PM

Thistledown

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NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Two trainers who grew up and learned their trade on the Thistledown backstretch may be friendly rivals at this year's Breeders' Cup. Alan Sobol and Jim Chapman both learned the business from their fathers.

Sobol's father, Harold, operated one of the first Ohio Thoroughbred breeding farms, Burtonian Farms, and as a youngster Alan worked with the horses on the farm and at the racetrack before taking out his license. He has developed a long list of stakes winners. This year he has the speedy filly Big Bambu, whom he would like to run in the Sprint. Sobol has 28 head here.

Chapman's dad, James R. was a very successful local trainer for many years and is best remembered here for claiming the 1967 Ohio Derby winner Out the Window for $6,250 at Tropical Park. His son Jim, who was known as Little Jim, also worked with his dad and became a successful race rider. Jim Chapman is pointing Caller One to the Sprint.

Another trainer who started out here, Richie Estvanko, had his finest day as a trainer last Saturday when he won the $500,000 West Virginia Derby with Western Pride.

Western Pride is owned by Theresa McArthur, who along with Carolyn Chapman, Jim Chapman's mother, owns Caller One. Estvanko currently trains a strong group of 25 here, most of which are owned by McArthur.

* Ramon Luna, a 24-year-old native of Mexico City, won his first career race here last Saturday when he guided Lost Memories to victory in the fifth race. It was Luna's fourth mount