02/04/2006 1:00AM

A year later, Ziadie still hot


OLDSMAR Fla. - With an influx of new stables here this year, there have been a lot of changes at Tampa Bay Downs, but one thing has remained constant: If you send a horse out against a runner from the Kirk Ziadie barn your chances for success are not very good.

Ziadie's horses won at a sizzling 43-percent clip during the 2004-05 meeting. He came out firing with both barrels this season and hasn't looked back. Through Feb. 3, Ziadie has sent out 18 winners from 47 starters to hold a seven-race lead in the trainers' race. His winning percentage is a dazzling 38 percent, an amazing number when one considers the barometer for success for trainers is 20 percent.

Ziadie attributes part of his success to the fact he treats "each of his horses as an individual."

"I'm a big believer in letting my horses tell me when they should run and when they shouldn't," he said. "You'll notice I don't run my horses back quite as quickly as a lot of trainers. I try and watch and listen to what they're trying to tell me about how they're doing.

"They may not be able to talk but they have ways of letting you know things. It's just a matter of getting the feel of how they're doing from day to day that dictates what I do with them."

Ziadie broke into the national scene last season with R Lady Joy, who started the 2004-05 meeting here as a maiden, captured the Florida Oaks, then went on to win the Delaware Oaks. Given some time off from that busy schedule, R Lady Joy is back in training.

"We're taking it slow with her and we'll be looking for some spots soon," Ziadie said.

Ziadie is hopeful that his current crop of 3-year-olds, which includes Soldier's Word, who romped home by more than 12 lengths in a recent maiden race, and Bushmill's Best, who is 2 for 3 at the meeting, could develop into stakes-caliber runners.

"They've both shown some promise, and either or both could end up in the Sam Davis on Feb. 18." he said. "And I've got a $160,000 purchase, Smokin Star, who could also turn out to be a nice one, but only time will tell."

Centeno, Toribio having good meets

Daniel Centeno, in his second year as a regular at Tampa, is steadily building a solid clientele with local trainers. Centeno, who hooked up with former jockey and fan favorite Herson Sanchez last season as his agent, won more than 100 races at Finger Lakes in 2005 and is currently tied for fifth in the rider standings here with 17 wins.

Aurelio Toribio Jr., who moved from Miami this winter for the first time, has started to pick up steam and posted a riding triple recently. He currently has 12 wins at the meeting.