12/07/2005 1:00AM

Trainer wins ninth in row


Trainer Benny Feliciano extended his winning streak to nine races when he sent out El Keko to win the fifth race Wednesday at Thistledown, a two-mile starter allowance. Leading for all but a few strides at the mile and three-eighths marker, El Keko, under Feliciano's son, Ricardo Feliciano, regained the lead and went on to an easy seven-length win.

It was El Keko's ninth win from 20 starts this season and puts him in a four-way tie as the nation's winningest horse.

"He came out of the race in fine shape, and he'll have one more chance to win here," said Feliciano. The trainer noted a 2 1/16-mile race the final day of the Thistledown meet, Dec. 23, "and if all goes well he has a very good chance of winning again."

Feliciano, who has only a two-horse stable now, entered Clever Jimmy C., who is on a four-race winning streak, for a race here on Saturday but it failed to fill.

"I have two more spots picked out for Clever Jimmy C. and hopefully he will get another chance to win. He is now the winningest horse at this meeting by one and I'd like another chance to win with him."