12/22/2004 1:00AM

Amoss has front end covered


NEW ORLEANS - Tom Amoss was on a very important cell phone call Tuesday morning at his barn on the Fair Grounds backstretch. "Happy anniversary, Mom," he said before addressing the group sitting in his office. "It's my parents' 50th anniversary," he explained.

Amoss then turned to his next concern, Cherokee Path and Blazing Exploit, the two colts he has entered in Friday's $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds, a six-furlong race for 2-year-olds. Amoss wouldn't mind seeing them separated by a nose in the win photo just like his pair Smooth as Silver and Big Bold Sweep finished in Sunday's feature.

"Cherokee Path is an accomplished sprinter coming off a disappointing route try in the Delta [Jackpot]," said Amoss. "The only question with him is, How quickly can we expect him to return to form after the last race?"

set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile $1 million Delta Jackpot two weeks ago before tiring to fifth. The turnback in distance should suit the son of Cherokee Run.

"The other colt, Blazing Exploit, is an overachiever who has outdone our expectations of him at every turn," said Amoss. "He deserves a chance to be in this race."

is a brilliant speedster who has not been headed in his last three races, including a six-length score in the $40,000 Delta Beau at Delta Downs on Nov. 26 over five furlongs.

With both horses exhibiting speed, does Amoss worry about them hooking up in a duel and setting up the race for a closer?

"I don't know exactly how the race will unfold," he said. "My philosophy is to let the riders ride their race."

The horse most likely to benefit from a heated pace scenario is stakes-placed Storm Surge, who finished third in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs on July 5 and finished sixth in his last race, the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on closing day at Churchill Downs.

The field of six in the Sugar Bowl also includes Razor, who is trained by Steve Asmussen. A muscular chestnut colt by Concorde's Tune, Razor turned in one of the most impressive performances by a 2-year-old colt at the Fair Grounds meet Dec. 12, running away from an entry-level allowance field by seven lengths. It was a performance similar to his maiden score at Churchill Downs on Nov. 14, when he tracked the pacesetter and drew off at will.

Bryceslittlesecret and Santana Strings complete the field.