10/28/2002 12:00AM

Washington trainer has near-misses but no hits

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - It may be too bad that trainer Bonnie Jenne isn't involved in horseshoes instead of horse racing.

Close, as the old saying goes, counts in horseshoes.

Close actually pays off in horse racing, too, and Jenne, a Washington-based trainer, has done pretty well since arriving in northern California this fall.

She sends out 6-year-old gelding Itsasgoodasitgets in a $25,000 claimer Wednesday at Bay Meadows. He ran third in his northern California debut in an Oct. 11 allowance race.

Jenne has yet to win a race in eight tries, but she has a second and three thirds in her first trip to California in five years.

"I've been down here before," she said. "I figured I had the stock this year."

Jenne has had her trainer's license since 1973 after starting with her father, Edward Lewis, who trained in Washington and Montana.

She bought Itsasgoodasitgets as a yearling in partnership with R.T. Costigan. He has won 7 of 28 starts, earning $58,118. Itsasgoodasitgets will break from the rail against seven rivals in Wednesday's race.

"He did well this summer," Jenne said. "He's getting better with age."

After running ninth in his first start of the year off a seven-month layoff, Itsasgoodasitgets has two wins and five thirds in his next seven starts.

"He runs every time you bring him over," Jenne said.

Although he has done well routing in the past, Jenne has only sprinted him this year.

"You kind of get where he's sprinting and running so well, you keep doing it," she said. "We know he'll route."

European invader heads Derby

Sunday's closing day feature, the Grade 3, $100,000 Bay Meadows Derby, has drawn 18 nominations, headed by Century City, who will make his U.S. debut for trainer Beau Greely.

Century City was the runner-up to Breeders' Cup Mile favorite Rock of Gibraltar in the Irish 2000 Guineas. Mike Smith, who won two Breeders' Cup races with Azeri and Vindication, is scheduled to ride.

'Hoover' gets well-deserved rest

After Hoovergetthekey's dull performance in Saturday's Pacifica Handicap, trainer Brian Koriner says he will give the 4-year-old gelding some time off.

"He's been going for 2 1/2 years without a break," Koriner said. "How many horses can you say that about?"

Hoovergetthekeys, winner of the Golden Gate and El Camino Real derbies last year, won the Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton this summer, then was second in the $100,000 Joseph Grace at Santa Rosa. He finished seventh in his previous start, the California Turf Championship.

"He's just gotten a little sour," Koriner said. "He probably was telling us something in his last race, but I just blamed it on the turf."

* Jockey Jason Lumpkins is appealing a three-day suspension after being disqualified from fourth to fifth aboard Blue Warrior in Saturday's ninth race. The suspension would run Friday to Sunday.