04/22/2004 11:00PM

Trainer's first win bittersweet

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - There is often unrestrained joy in the winner's circle, but that wasn't the case Wednesday at Bay Meadows.

There were smiles and congratulations when 26-year-old Genaro Vallejo greeted Givemethreedimes, the first horse he had saddled as a trainer, after he returned to the winner's circle following a three-length victory in a $20,000 claimer.

But, as owner Bob Gilley said, "It was a little different."

Vallejo's first training victory came four days after the death of his mentor, John Terry Marshall, a man Vallejo had worked with for six years.

"Well, I was really happy," Vallejo said. "That was my first win, and it's nice to win races, but I was a little nervous about everything."

As Marshall's health deteriorated, Vallejo, who had risen to the level of his assistant, took on more and more responsibility for the barn. Marshall, a naturalized Canadian citizen, had left horses with Vallejo in recent years during his summer trips home to Hastings in British Columbia.

Vallejo rode horses as a boy in Mexico, but he never rode in the United States. He got a job as a hotwalker and then began rubbing horses, working for trainers John Martin and Terry Knight before joining Marshall.

"He taught me a lot of things," Vallejo said. "I was ready because he taught me a lot of things. I always try to learn from everybody.

"I like this job. I try to do the best I can. The job is not easy, but it's not that tough if you love horses."

Gilley, like Vallejo, had many emotions sweep through him as Givemethreedimes stuck his head in front at the quarter pole and pulled away down the stretch.

"I'd been with [Marshall] for five years," Gilley said. "He claimed this horse three times for us, and he's just starting to show his potential."

Marshall was nicknamed "The Genius" at Hastings because of his astute claims.

"He won a lot of races for me," Gilley said. "He was a nice guy. Everybody liked him, but people respected him."

Front-running Point Dume gets rail

Stakes-placed Point Dume has five rivals in a one-mile, first-level allowance race that headlines Sunday's card.

A front-running gelding, Point Dume drew the rail in his first start since running second to California Derby winner Trieste's Honor on March 14.

Dancin Candy may be the one Point Dume will have to beat.