05/22/2002 11:00PM

Barn gets them started early


CHICAGO - Looking for an angle in Chicago 2-year-old races? Try these two words - Tom Swearingen.

There have been only two 2-year-old races run so far this year in Chicago, and Swearingen-trained horses won both. It's no surprise. Swearingen's outfit consistently sends out live young horses on the Chicago circuit, and his 2-year-olds are especially dominant during spring. Everybody knows it, too.

Twitch N Shout, who won a 4 1/2-half furlong maiden race by almost seven lengths on Sunday, paid $2.80 to win in her career debut. Monday, Swearingen won with To Be Announced, who scored by almost three lengths at a much more attractive 5-1.

It's not like Swearingen is getting things done with million-dollar babies. To Be Announced is an Illinois-bred by the obscure stallion Denouncer, while Twitch N Shout is by a more prominent sire, Southern Halo, and is a homebred out of a fast racemare, Barely Makin It.

Swearingen, who owns a Chicago-area farm with training facilities, begins picking out his win-early prospects in September, when the horses still are yearlings, looking for the most mature and developed stock.

"We break them in September, and I get an idea who looks good then," Swearingen said.

"In the winter we'll take some to the track who look like they can get started early. From there, I let them tell us whether we should go on with them or wait."

Swearingen said he doesn't focus on gate work - less is more, he believes - but his 2-year-olds like Twitch N Shout tend to show speed from the gate.

"I like to see one that's real competitive, that likes to get out there early," he said.

Swearingen has high hopes for Twitch N Shout, who he thinks is much better even than she looked in her easy win last weekend. He said the filly might be pointed to the My Dear Stakes at Woodbine or the Debutante Stakes at Churchill.

Fan Club's Mister to go in sprint

The talented Illinois-bred turf horse Fan Club's Mister will start at Hawthorne in the June 1 Glassy Dip Stakes. At five furlongs, the $75,000 Glassy Dip probably is too short for Fan Club's Mister's best race, but Fan Club's Mister is ready to roll, and trainer Rickey Harris wants to set him up for a try in the Firecracker Breeders' Cup on July 4 at Churchill Downs.

Last summer, Fan Club's Mister won the Grade 2 American Derby at Arlington, at 1 3/16 miles, a far cry from the sprint he will try next week. In December, he confirmed his quality by winning the $100,000 Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds, and last month he was second in a Keeneland allowance to the top turf horse Strut the Stage, who returned to win the Grade 2 Dixie at Pimlico on Preakness Day.

Fan Club's Mister hasn't tried a sprint since early in his career, but Harris said prospective spots to bring the horse back weren't plentiful. Besides, Harris said she plans to restrict Fan Club's Mister to shorter races this season.

"I'd prefer him to run a mile or 1 1/16 miles," she said.

Wednesday, Fan Club's Mister worked a half-mile on the Hawthorne main track in 49.20 seconds.