07/11/2005 12:00AM

Two tales show outs and ins of training

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It is not all BMW SUV's, high-end cell phones and $250 sunglasses, this world of the modern horse trainer.

The image from the top of the food chain is one thing. Down lower, people go white-knuckled every day trying to hang on.

Down here, Chris Richard and Bertrand de Brevedent passed like ships in the night - only they docked momentarily to say hello.

De Brevedent came to the United States from France and worked nine years as chief lieutenant for the trainer Christophe Clement. Six years back he struck out on his own, and three weeks ago, after too many seasons scratching out a living, de Brevedent said "No more." He dispersed his small stable and drove out of Chicago, heading back East to who-knows-what.

"It's been a hard road, I'll tell you," de Brevedent said last week. "I had no idea, really."

De Brevedent always had some horses, but his stable kept fluctuating. Sometimes there would be three in the barn, sometimes 15. But the bills, getting higher by the month in the horse business, were a constant, as was the search for good owners.

"I really enjoyed it, but it's just a really stressful life, very tiring," said de Brevedent.

De Brevedent, who is married and has a young daughter, doesn't know what's next.

"I'm not sure the track is the place I want to be right now," he said. But leaving the horse business for something more mainstream - not likely. "I can't do anything else."

A month ago, de Brevedent had never met Chris Richard, but he heard on the Arlington backstretch that Richard (pronounced Rich-ARD) was getting ready to go out on his own, leaving his five-year-long position as an assistant to trainer Tom Amoss.

"I don't know him, but I heard he was starting his own stable, and I started spending time with him," de Brevedent said. "I tried to steer him more horses, but I only could get him one. I told him she would be his first winner."

And she was. Explosive Affair won the first race here July 1, quickly getting Richard off the duck. Tuesday, after Amoss's top assistant, Frank Bernice, had arrived here from Churchill, Richard was to start flying solo - no safety net.

"I've got six horses at this point, and I've got an additional four to come in a couple weeks," Richard said. "Hopefully, I'll start getting active at the claim box."

Hopefully. That is the operative word. Richard briefly was a head trainer once before, fresh out of college in the late 1990's and working in the wild world of the Jim McIngvale stable. Here was a troubled hierarchy. Sometimes, training charts seemed to be issuing from the McIngvale furniture business in Texas.

"It was a great learning experience, but it was difficult," Richard said. "I'd been an assistant working my way up the ranks in Texas. I don't think looking back on it that I had a good enough feel for the business. I've always had confidence in my horsemanship."

Richard has Amoss's full support - "He's just one of those guys that you think is going to do well," Amoss said - but he doesn't have Amoss's deep pool of owners. Nor does Richard have the clout of an established trainer like Amoss, who has gotten to the point where he can run his business the way he wants it run. Richard will have to hope he can mix some good luck in with dedication and confidence.

Then he can start thinking about the Beamer and the Tag Heuer glasses.

Apache Point solid in workout

The field for Saturday's $100,000 Round Table Stakes is shaping up quite nicely, and Apache Point is likely to join the fray after turning in a solid work here Monday. Thrice-started, with only two races this season, Apache Point was a good second last out in the Iowa Derby, his first start around two turns. Trainer Frank Kirby would prefer it if the Round Table came up a week later, but said he planned to enter Apache Point after watching Monday's work.

"He worked real good, a half-mile in 48, and galloped out in 1:02," Kirby said. "He looked like he did it real easy, and he's training good."

Others expected to start are Bob O's Boy, Devilment, High Expectations, Real Dandy, Straight Line, Tupper Lake, and Wayzata Bay.

Kirby won Saturday's $40,000 Dr. Fager Stakes with Stormy Impact, who could run back in the Washington Park Handicap or go to Horsemen's Park for the Omaha Handicap.

* Chic Dancer, who got too much of a hot middle pace in her most recent start, is the one to beat in Wednesday's feature, a third-level, 1 1/16-mile turf allowance with a $62,500 claiming option.