03/19/2007 11:00PM

Falcon's Peak looks right


What kind of Fair Grounds meet has it been for the trainer Tom Amoss? Just like the old days.

Amoss won or tied for the Fair Grounds training title six times between 1993 and the 2000-2001 season. That year, he and Steve Asmussen tied atop the standings, and then Asmussen became the perennial Fair Grounds champ. But this season, Amoss will be back on top when racing concludes in New Orleans this Sunday, and even the combined win total of Asmussen and his deputy, Scott Blasi, who ran the Fair Grounds operation before Asmussen came back from a suspension in January, falls short of Amoss's 51 wins through Sunday.

"It's been a while since we won the title here, and it's a real credit to all the guys in the barn as a team," Amoss said. "We've worked really hard this year, and it's nice to get this kind of reward."

Want the Amoss meet in a microcosm? Check out Falcon's Peak, who starts in Thursday's featured ninth race, a third-level allowance with a $50,000 claiming option. The 5-year-old Falcon's Peak has been a claimer for much of his career, but he has become something more than that since Amoss and owner Maggi Moss took him for $16,000 out of a blowout win Dec. 16 at Fair Grounds. Amoss jumped Falcon's Peak into a second-level allowance on Jan. 6, when he finished a troubled third to two good horses, Saint Anddan and Music School. Three weeks later, Falcon's Peak cleared the condition with a half-length victory over a legit field, and on Feb. 15, Amoss, Moss, and Falcon's Peak won a $75,000 claiming race by almost two lengths - which is not bad for a $16,000 claim.

Thursday, Falcon's Peak is almost certain to be favored over seven rivals, many of whom he already has beaten this meet, and with two breezes and five weeks since his last start, why can't Falcon's Peak continue his roll?

"I think he's running consistently," Amoss said. "We do claim a lot of horses, and we see horses round into form, and how long they stay in that form is something you can't really determine."

Thursday's feature also will be the first start of the year for Cougar Cat, who didn't quite make it as a stakes horse last year after showing early-season promise for trainer Ronny Werner. Cougar Cat hasn't raced since finishing eighth on Keeneland's synthetic surface in an allowance last October, a performance in no way representative of his actual talent.