12/29/2003 1:00AM

Two more trainers reach 100-win mark


ALBANY, Calif. - Over the past two weekends, northern California trainers John F. Martin and William E. Morey each reached 100 victories in a year for the first time.

Martin reached 100 when Ex Federali and Anstar won consecutive races on Dec. 21. He got win No. 101 last Saturday with Dancing Sands.

"I tried as hard as I could to get there," Martin said. "The harder you work, the luckier you get. It's just a matter of fighting every day, trying to win races."

Morey reached 100 on Sunday when Beckham won a $12,500 claimer at one mile.

"A lot of things went my way to get 100," Morey said. "A lot have to go your way. When we hit the middle of the year and had close to 60 wins, I thought it was possible. Things have died down a bit because I haven't run as many, but things have come around lately."

Five northern California trainers have topped the 100-win mark, led by Jerry Hollendorfer, who has 278 wins and is closing in on the 4,000 mark for lifetime victories. Armando Lage has 141 on the year, and Art Sherman has 113.

"We both had good years," Martin said of Morey and himself. "We both only have medium-sized stables."

Martin has won at a 30 percent clip this year, while Morey has a 25 percent win rate.

Martin has been training for 18 years, although it is only recently that he has concentrated solely on Thoroughbreds.

Morey, 29, worked for his father, William J. Morey Jr., for many years. He has been on his own for three years.

This has been a big year on several counts for Morey, and he says he had no idea what the year would bring when Red Packet won for him last New Year's Day to kick off 2003.

"I got my first stakes win, my first win in a hundred-grander with Trapper," Morey said. "I guess you could add another first with my first stakes win with a horse I claimed."

Attention to detail is a key for both Morey and Martin, and both have amazing success with runners the first time off a claim.

Morey wins 35 percent off the claim, while Martin wins 32 percent.

"I try and wait for the right spot," Morey said. "My owners let me wait, and sometimes I run them back for the same price, sometimes higher, sometimes lower. Now they want me to get them to run that good every single time."

Martin loves the claiming game and he also tries to find good spots for his recent claims, even if it means dropping them in price.

"I have to do a lot of explaining and soothing of owners, but, hopefully, if the horses win, they understand," Martin said. "It's really satisfying to claim a horse and win."

Monroe adds two wins in one day

Trainer Sherrie Monroe has only six wins this year, but two of those victories came Saturday when Magic Secret scored a $40.20 upset in a $12,500 claiming sprint and Valorosa won a $12,500 claimer at one mile.

"Whenever you win, it's fun, even if it's just Monopoly," Monroe said. "I was kind of surprised Magic Secret paid so much. Normally she turns in a fairly decent effort. She's usually right there."

Magic Secret had a win, two seconds, and a third in nine starts this year.

Valorosa was coming off a strong second-place finish. "With Valorosa, she's such a late-closing filly that sometimes she has problems coming from so far out of it," Monroe said. "A lot of times she has traffic problems, but she tries hard every time she runs."

Both fillies are owned by Dorothy Pecora and Evelyn and Carlo Scialango, who bred Valorosa.

"The owners are from Southern California, and they go to the simulcast every time they run," Monroe said. "We hardly ever get both in on the same day, but this time we did, and they didn't get to see the races because they all had the flu."

* Eight fillies and mares meet in a $50,000 optional claimer at six furlongs to top Wednesday's Golden Gate Fields card. Jaciro, who lost a photo to the talented Gone to Party in her last start and has never finished off the board here, appears to be the one to beat, but she must run down Kona Queen.