02/07/2002 12:00AM

You can help make Bailey favorite son again


ARCADIA, Calif. - For the last three weekends, Jerry Bailey has left south Florida with the expectation of riding a stakes winner at Santa Anita. On each occasion, Bailey has returned to Florida without a trophy after losing aboard a heavy favorite.

Siphonic finished second in the Santa Catalina Stakes on Jan. 19, Squirtle Squirt finished second in the Palos Verdes Handicap on Jan. 27, and Lido Palace was only fourth in the San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 3.

"I'd like to win one of these times," Bailey said on Thursday from the jockeys' room at Gulfstream Park.

On Sunday, Bailey rides You in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The 44-year-old Bailey is trying to score his first stakes win at Santa Anita since Sunshine Street won the Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano Handicap in April 2000.

You, who is trained by Bobby Frankel, is the likely favorite against a strong field of 3-year-old fillies.

"When they're all 4-5, you've got to go," Bailey said of his recent mounts. "They're good horses for good people."

Bailey says he was disappointed by Lido Palace, who was beaten three lengths by upset winner Redattore. The San Antonio was Lido Palace's first start since he finished unplaced in the Japan Cup Dirt in late November.

"I know he's better than that," Bailey said. "I don't think he's completely recovered from Japan."

After Lido Palace's loss, Bailey was the subject of verbal abuse from some fans who lined a tunnel leading back to the jockey's room. "They're not getting a maiden," Bailey said of his experience with disgruntled fans. "I can handle it. I've ridden at Aqueduct. I had no excuse on the track and I understand that people get frustrated."

While Bailey will be reunited with Lido Palace this summer in New York, the jockey could be back to Santa Anita in coming weeks to ride Siphonic or Squirtle Squirt.

Squirtle Squirt does not have a definite next start, but Siphonic is scheduled to return in the San Felipe Stakes on March 17. "He had an excuse when he broke poorly," Bailey said of the Santa Catalina Stakes.

Bailey rode You for the first time in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes on Dec. 16, which she lost by a head to Habibti. You surprised Bailey when she began to pull herself up in midstetch and gave up the lead, but the filly was back to business in the final strides and just missed catching Habibti.

Bailey would prefer that You have a target rather than make the pace. "If there is some pace, it will help her," Bailey said. "In the Starlet, she was left alone."

Bailey said the weekly road trips have not left him drained. Playing world-class golf courses has taken its toll, however. Last week, he played Augusta National in Georgia, the home of the Masters. Bailey said he shot 88 on Monday and 87 on Tuesday.

"I was a little tired after that," he said.

In leaving Gulfstream Park during the heart of its meeting, Bailey estimates he has given up the rides on six winners. "That would put me about 3 or 4 behind the leaders," Bailey said. Conversely, he thinks he has laid the groundwork for another successful season. Last year, he led the nation's riders with record earnings of $22,857,720, more than $7 million ahead of runner-up John Velazquez.

Later this month, Bailey is the heavy favorite to be honored with his fifth Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding jockey.

"I've always believed that I should go for the money and go for the good horses and the rest will sort it outself out," Bailey said. "These horses won't win every time. But if they turn out, it could be a phenomenal year."