02/27/2008 12:00AM

Gold Storm back from long layoff

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Gold Storm will make his first start since August 2006 in Friday night's $50,000 Delta Express, one of two five-furlong races for older horses on the card at Delta Downs. The $50,000 Mademoiselle is for fillies and mares, and its top contenders include Cat on a Cloud, Casino Transaction, and Coach Mike.

Gold Storm is the second major stakes winner in a week making a comeback from a layoff of more than one year in a stakes at Delta. Last weekend, Miss Atlantic City won the $50,000 Golden Triangle in her first start since December 2006. Gold Storm was away from the races with a fractured sesamoid, with his last start a win in the $150,000 Arlington Sprint Breeders' Cup Handicap at Arlington Park on Aug. 26, 2006. For his return, he has been working at Fair Grounds.

"It's a pretty tough race, and he hadn't run in over a year, but he's been training good," said Bubba Cascio, who trains Gold Storm for Keith McKinney. "We worked him the other morning a [half-mile], and he was the sixth fastest of 122, and two of those came away from the gate."

Gold Storm covered the four furlongs in 48.20 seconds. As a multiple stakes winner of 11 races and $507,000, he is the class of the field in the Express. Corey Lanerie has the mount on the horse, who will break from post 6.

Multiple stakes winner Mystery Classic drew gate 9, and his trainer, Bob Schultz, is hoping the post will work to his advantage. The quick horse has several speedy sorts to his inside, including stakes winner Chief What It Is and All Wired Up, who is 6 for 7 at Delta.

"We'd like to lay back just a little bit on whatever speed is there, and hopefully when we turn him loose, he'll go on by them on the outside," said Schultz, who has given the mount to Bobby Walker Jr.

Others in the field include Probation Ready, who was third last out in the $50,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn.

* Cat on a Cloud, whose biggest career win came on dirt, returns to the surface for the Mademoiselle. She has been racing on turf since the fall, and among her efforts was an allowance win on grass at Arlington. Cat on a Cloud, who in 2006 won a division of the $200,000 NATC Futurity on dirt at Monmouth Park, is trained by Ronny Werner and will be ridden by Jamie Theriot.