08/20/2002 11:00PM

Toribio makes presence felt


OCEANPORT, N.J. - In his first riding stint at Monmouth, Abdiel Toribio has his sights set on a top-five finish in the jockey standings. The meet already has been a success for Toribio, who has found a new summer spot for years to come.

Like Eibar Coa one year before him, Toribio has made the transition from the south Florida circuit to Monmouth. A two-time riding champion at Hialeah since beginning his United States riding career in 1991, Toribio had 40 wins after Wednesday's program, four short of Jose Ferrer in fifth place. A top-five finish is something Toribio said he wouldn't have expected, and a summer at Monmouth is something that was also far from his mind when he left Calder for Delaware Park in late May.

Toribio, a native of Panama, was no stranger to the mid-Atlantic circuit, as he rode first call for trainer Ben Perkins Jr. at Delaware in 1998 with good success. Toribio even came to Monmouth that summer to ride Delaware Township to victory in the Tyro Stakes.

After returning in early May from a three-month riding stint at the Al-Janadriyah racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Toribio rode at Calder before deciding to return to Delaware along with new agent Joe Burdo. Unable to garner much business there, Toribio made the move to Monmouth after seeing an opening created by an injury to leading rider Joe Bravo.

"With Joe Bravo out we had a good opportunity to pick up some business," Toribio said. "We made the switch and I'm very happy with the meet. We came in late but finished up very strong."

Toribio arrived at Monmouth in the first week of June, four weeks after the meet started. While he already had connections with such Florida outfits as leading trainer Tim Hills and Norman Pointer, business was slow early on before Toribio was able to display his riding ability on the new circuit. He hasn't looked back since.

Toribio, 30, has been one of the hottest jockeys in the last two weeks, winning 11 races in the last 11 race days. He has been riding for numerous outfits, and recently has ridden often for high-percentage trainer Peter Walder. Last Sunday, he picked up his first stakes victory of the meet aboard Cat Rocket in the $65,000 Post Deb Stakes. Once Monmouth closes, Toribio will head to The Meadowlands.

Toribio is already looking ahead to his sophomore season here.

"I'll be back next year," Toribio said. "We have a lot of good connections right now and next year we'll come in early."

Valid Video looks sharp

In his first workout since winning the Grade 3 Sapling Aug. 10, 2-year-old Valid Video seemed to have exited the race just as well as he entered it.

Valid Video, with regular exercise rider Roberto Garcia aboard, breezed four furlongs in a solid 48 seconds Wednesday, the third quickest of 31 at the distance. Monmouth clockers caught Valid Video in fractions of 23 seconds for a quarter-mile and 34.80 for three furlongs. Trainer Dennis Manning, in Ocala, Fla., for a yearling sale, was on the phone with clockers during the workout.

"[Monmouth clockers] said he went very well and was well within himself," Manning said from Florida. "I'm happy with the way he's come back since the Sapling and it looks like he's been doing well since then."

Manning said Valid Video is still on track for the one-mile, Grade 1 Futurity at Belmont Sept. 15.

Whoop's Ah Daisy back sprinting

Three-year-old filly Whoop's Ah Daisy has been a dominant force in the New Jersey-bred ranks this meet, and she takes her first step into open company Friday in the co-featured seventh race, a two-other-than allowance for fillies and mares at six furlongs. She drew post 2 in a field of seven and will be ridden by Eddie King, who has been aboard in all five of her starts.

Whoop's Ah Daisy, trained by Kevin Sleeter, started the meet with two victories before running second in her next two starts. She won at a mile in her first start at two turns Aug. 2, but she returns to sprinting Friday.

"She is best right now at sprinting," Sleeter said. "She'll be good down the road at two turns, but she has to mature a little bit."

Hills pair sharpens for stakes

Wednesday morning was a busy day for trainer Tim Hills as two of his stakes runners clocked solid workouts in preparation for their next starts.

Jeb's Wild, a 3-year-old, breezed four furlongs in 48.20 seconds in preparation for Saturday's $50,000 Spend a Buck Stakes at one mile on the turf. Since switching to the turf, Jeb's Wild has been a different horse. He won his maiden

July 5 before jumping up to run second at 11-1 in the $65,000 Lamplighter Stakes on Aug. 4 in his second grass start.

"He's doing really well right now," Hills said. "It looks like he's going to be a pretty nice colt."

Paris Adventure, a juvenile maiden winner July 28, worked four furlongs in 48 seconds, the third quickest of 31 at the distance. Hills said Paris Adventure, a son of Northern Afleet, is being pointed to the NATC Futurity at Delaware on Aug. 31.