01/10/2002 1:00AM

For trainer, just being in stakes part of fun


For Gary Montgomery, just being part of a stakes race might be enough of a thrill.

Montgomery, 51, has held a trainer's license since 1998 after having worked extensively in the Quarter Horse business and for several years as an assistant to Thoroughbred trainers Paul McGee and Ken McPeek.

On Saturday, Montgomery will run a horse in a stakes for the first time when he saddles Show Me the Wire in the $50,000 Wishing Well Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

"We'd love to go up there and do some good, have some fun," said Montgomery, whose main clients include his parents, Glenn and Sara Montgomery, owners of Show Me the Wire.

Show Me the Wire, a 7-year-old Beau Genius mare, has earned $217,700 from 46 lifetime starts. Two starts back, she won a third-level allowance race before finishing third to Spanish Glitter in the Wishing Well prep on Dec. 23.

Montgomery, who trains a small stable at Trackside in Louisville, acknowledges that Spanish Glitter, the solid favorite in the Wishing Well, should be tough to beat again. Spanish Glitter has won nine of 17 starts for trainer Bernie Flint.

"It is a tall order," said Montgomery. "But on any given day, our mare can run real big, and she does love that track at Turfway. Dad's going to breed her this spring, so we'd love to get her some black type."

Besides Spanish Glitter, owned by Fred Kissling, another top contender in the Wishing Well is Joke, a Claiborne Farm filly trained by Richard Mandella. Two of Joke's four career wins came in minor stakes on the northern California circuit.

Like most of the 12-race Saturday card at Turfway, the Wishing Well drew a large field. The maximum of 12 horses is scheduled to run. In fact, eight of the other 11 races drew at least 12 runners, two more drew 10, and another drew only seven.

The unusually large fields are partly the result of recent cancellations, which occur often at Turfway this time of year.

After more than a week of sub-freezing weather, a warm front came through the region early this week. That caused the track to thaw, which typically creates an uneven racing surface and hazardous conditions.

Racing was canceled here Wednesday and Thursday nights after track officials determined the track had thawed too rapidly. Officials were optimistic racing could resume by Friday night.