05/19/2004 11:00PM

Attfield issues 'Storm' warning


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Honolua Storm may be coming in under the sonar for Saturday's Grade 3 Marine Stakes at Woodbine.

Trainer Roger Attfield holds Honolua Storm in high regard, however, and that's reason enough to give the colt a long look in his first start here.

"I think he's a very good horse," said Attfield, who also co-owns Honolua Storm with Bill Werner. "He has a tremendous amount of ability as far as I'm concerned."

Honolua Storm, a Kentucky-bred son of Old Trieste and the Storm Bird mare Honolua Bay, finished a troubled fourth in his debut over six furlongs at Gulfstream on March 6 and was well meant when he took to the track for a seven-furlong race at Keeneland on April 4.

Reacting to another entrant's antics in the post parade, Honolua Storm dropped rider Edgar Prado and led the outriders on a spirited chase before being collared and scratched.

Four days later, Honolua Storm made it to the gate without incident and was an impressive winner at seven furlongs. In his only subsequent outing, which came in the Grade 3 Derby Trial over a mile at Churchill Downs on April 24, Honolua Storm finished a distant fourth in the field of five.

"I threw him into the deep end a little bit," said Attfield. "It might not have been the smartest move, but the riders who had ridden him thought he was capable of it, and he did get stopped in the race."

While the 1 1/16-mile Marine will be Honolua Storm's longest race to date and his first around two turns, Attfield does not anticipate any problem on those fronts.

"His pedigree says he should handle two turns," said Attfield. "I certainly think he can. He trains like he'd go two turns; he trains like a machine."

Twisted Wit will await Plate Trial

Twisted Wit, winner of the seven-furlong Queenston in his seasonal debut here May 8, was nominated for the Marine but is slated to make his next appearance in the Plate Trial.

The Plate Trial, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run June 6, with the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate set for June 27. Trainer Bob Tiller said he likes the four-week gap between the Queenston and the Plate Trial, and then the three weeks between the Trial and the Plate.

"We're going to find out if he'll go that far; the Plate Trial will tell us," he said. "If he fails the test in the Plate Trial, he won't run in the Plate.

"He'll be a very good horse up to seven-eighths. I think he could beat older horses I think he's that good."

Twisted Wit breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 on the fast main track here Thursday under regular rider David Clark.

Desperado Kid trying to play catch-up

Desperado Kid, supplemented to the Plate at a cost of $15,000, finished fourth in a first-level allowance over 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.

With Pat Day aboard, Desperado Kid set a pressured pace for nearly six furlongs before weakening to be beaten by 7 1/4 lengths.

The winner, Alumni Hall, is a lightly raced but very promising 5-year-old.

"I was a little disappointed," said Patrick Byrne, who trains Desperado Kid for Charles LaLoggia. "He got more tired than I would have liked.

"But, that's not to take anything away from his talent. He's a nice colt. He's a big horse - almost 17 hands. That's why we started late. He just needed to get more time to develop."

Desperado Kid was making just his second career start Wednesday, after winning his maiden over seven furlongs of muddy going at Churchill on May 1.

"He won his first race easy," said Byrne. "In a perfect world I'd have probably have run him a one-turn mile, and brought him along that way.

"But the fact he's Canadian-bred. It's almost like pushing a square peg into a round hole at this point in time. I won't say that we won't make the Queen's Plate, but it's not an ideal situation from a standpoint of seasoning.

"That being said, I don't think there are any Wandos around this year. It's kind of worth it to push it and try to make a race like that."

Boana preps for Nassau

Boana, a 6-year-old mare who joined Attfield's string in Florida last winter, worked four furlongs in 48.60 seconds on the training track here Thursday and is slated to make her first local start in the June 5 Nassau Stakes.

The Nassau, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $250,000.

Bred in Germany and owned by Gary Tanaka, Boana won her first start for Attfield, a third-level allowance over 1 1/8 miles of turf at Gulfstream on Feb. 11.

Boana made two more starts at Gulfstream, both on turf, finishing third in the Grade 3 The Very One over 1 3/8 miles and fourth in the Grade 2 Orchid over 1 1/2 miles.

In her last outing, over 1 1/2 miles on Keeneland's turf course, Boana finished seventh in the Grade 3 Bewitch.

"I think she's more effective going shorter," said Attfield. "Her race, going a mile and an eighth, was probably the best of her career. Then, I started to stretch her out again."

* This year's Sovereign Awards, originally scheduled for Dec. 3, will now be held Friday, Dec. 17, at the nearby Wyndham Bristol Place. To be eligible for Sovereign Award consideration, a horse must have made a minimum of three starts in Canada this year by Nov. 28.