10/30/2002 12:00AM

Abduction finally gets up to speed

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Father Steve and Abduction, two horses whose connections thought they would be well past the second-level allowance condition by now, will attempt to clear that hurdle Friday going one mile at Aqueduct.

Father Steve, a $900,000 son of Pulpit, bucked shins after winning his maiden in his second start last October. He didn't make it back to the races until July when he won a six-furlong entry-level allowance race at Belmont. In his next start, Father Steve skipped a condition and finished third versus third-level allowance runners.

On Sept. 28, Father Steve dropped to his proper condition and finished second behind the front-running Harmony Hall over a muddy Belmont surface. In that race, Father Steve looked to be making a winning move around the turn and into the stretch, but was outfinished by Harmony Hall.

Father Steve, a half-brother to stakes winners Miss Indy Anna and Time Limit, showed Monday that he may be sitting on a big race when he drilled five furlongs in 59.60 seconds at Belmont. The workout was the fastest of 38 moves at the distance. Trainer Nick Zito is off to a solid start at the meet with a record of 2-2-2 from eight starters. Jerry Bailey rides from post 3.

Abduction, a 4-year-old son of A.P. Indy trained by Shug McGaughey, could be the controlling speed. A number of problems, including a fractured pastern that needed surgery, kept Abduction away from the races until this year. After finishing seventh in his debut at Saratoga, Abduction has won two straight races including a 1 1/4-length win in an Oct. 12 allowance race at Belmont.

"He won pretty easy the other day," McGaughey said. "I'm hoping he's got a chance to be a nice horse."

Lord ofthe Thunder and Mr. Determined, the third- and fourth- place finishers from the restricted Empire Classic on Oct. 20, try open company again. Soon after the start of the Empire Classic, Lord ofthe Thunder was squeezed and checked back to last, advanced into contention along the rail, and had dead aim on Gander in the stretch, but could not catch him. He lost second to Compelling World late.

Trainer Jennifer Pedersen said she is not worried about running Lord ofthe Thunder back in less than two weeks. Lord ofthe Thunder is 2 for 3 at one mile.

"He's eating up and is doing everything right," Pedersen said. "He came out of the race like gangbusters."

Mr. Determined may benefit from the cutback to a mile. Before finishing fourth in the Empire Classic, he defeated open company entry-level competition at Belmont on Sept. 14.

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