09/05/2001 11:00PM

Everything points to Thunderello


Thunderello brings speed, the best Beyers, a last-out dominating performance, and a hot trainer to the $50,000 Comet Stakes at The Meadowlands on Saturday night. What he won't bring is a long price.

Thunderello will face five other 2-year-olds in the six-furlong Comet, but none of his rivals come within a furlong of his credentials. In his last race, a front-running 14 1/2-length victory in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Saratoga, Thunderello posted a 99 Beyer Speed Figure, one of the highest figures for a juvenile this year and a full 18 points higher than the best figure earned by his rivals.

Richard Migliore will ride the short-priced favorite for trainer Scott Lake, who has followed up his enormously successful 2000 campaign by winning with 28 percent of his starts this year. Lake took over the training of the colt just before his maiden score.

The most likely challenger to Thunderello is Winning Talk, a New Jersey-based runner out of John Forbes's barn. Winning Talk won his debut race at Monmouth Park on Aug. 12 by a neck after pressing the pace, posting an 81 Beyer.

The field gets thin from there. Boston Common started his career in a claiming race, from which trainer Michael Pino took a $50,000 shot on behalf of leading owner Richard Englander. Boston Common came back to win a maiden special weight race two starts later at Delaware Park, drawing away by 3 3/4 lengths after setting the pace.

Lil Badger is the only horse in the field with stakes experience, but his experience has not been positive. After winning a state-bred maiden race at Monmouth on June 30, Lil Badger finished fourth in the $50,000 Tyro Stakes and then last in the Grade 3 Sapling Stakes. If a hot pace takes it toll on the front-runners, Lil Badger could pick up the pieces at a price.

Rounding out the field are Mr. One Way and Final Table.

Final Table, who won in his third lifetime start at Saratoga on Aug. 23 in sub-par time, gets leading jockey Eibar Coa. Mr. One Way is still looking for his first win.

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