07/26/2001 11:00PM

Beware of brewing Storm


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The 2-year-old colt division at Monmouth Park will come into focus Sunday with the running of the $50,000 Tyro Stakes, the first juvenile stakes of the meet.

The outcome of the Tyro, run at 5 1/2 furlongs, will shine a clearer picture onto the Grade 3 Sapling - the premier race here for 2-year-olds on Aug. 18.

Storm Passage is the one to beat in the Tyro. Storm Passage, an Overbrook Farm homebred, receives the huge advantage of being saddled by Hall-of-Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Lukas has consistently sent out precocious 2-year-olds at this meet in the past: He has won eight Saplings since 1987, and will likely be using the Tyro as a springboard for Storm Passage to a race which he has dominated.

Both of Storm Passage's career races have come at Churchill Downs. He won a maiden race as the 7-5 favorite May 26, but then ran third as the 4-5 shot in the Grade 2 Bashford Manor three weeks ago. Eibar Coa gets the call.

The field for the Tyro includes a number of impressive maiden winners. Pure Precision won a maiden race by nearly 11 lengths at first asking at Calder for trainer John Tammaro III, and was second there in the Criterium Stakes July 7.

Pure Precision, owned by George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable, has definitely taken to the Monmouth strip since being shipped here. He fired one of the fastest workouts of the meet, a bullet four-furlong workout of 46.60 seconds, the fastest of 56 workouts on July 21. Jose Velez Jr. will be aboard for the first time.

Doc Wild represents the Monmouth juvenile division for trainer John Kimmel. Doc Wild was one of the more impressive maiden winners at this meet, winning by 4 1/4 lengths in his first start July 4. Since then, he has trained excellently on the Monmouth track.

"This horse shows he is capable of stepping up," said assistant trainer Brian Ange. "He has gotten stronger and more mentally mature since the race. We'll take a shot and see what kind of 2-year-old we have."

Tim Tullock Jr., who saddled Buster's Daydream to win Thursday's Sanford Stakes at Saratoga, will saddle Square Cut Diamond in the Tyro. Square Cut Diamond, making her second start for Tullock, has run third in three consecutive stakes, one at Woodbine and two at Hollywood Park. Roberto Alvarado gets the mount.

Lil Badger, Catylitic Spark, Wild Thunder, Quickcheck Marquet, and Outstander complete the field.