03/17/2005 12:00AM

Gold Storm vs. 'Bwana' in Kenner


NEW ORLEANS - Gold Storm and Bwana Charlie were both longshots in the Breeders' Cup Sprint when they last met, but they each had an effect on the race's outcome.

Gold Storm was involved in a 43.47-second half-mile, which trainer Bubba Cascio said was the reason Gold Storm faded from second to ninth. Bwana Charlie made a lot of superfecta fans happy by closing for fourth at 35-1.

The two will meet again Saturday in the $125,000 Duncan F. Kenner Breeders' Cup Handicap at six furlongs, the premier sprint stakes on the Fair Grounds racing schedule.

returned in January to run six furlongs in 1:09 and win the Col. Power Handicap. He has continued to train well since.

"He seems like he's being more professional," said jockey E.J. Perrodin, who rode Gold Storm in the Col. Power and has been working him in the mornings. "He's trained real good up to the race."

Trainer Steve Asmussen concedes that may not be able to handle Gold Storm in his first race back since the Breeders' Cup.

"I'm concerned about him coming off of the layoff, because he's such a heavy horse," said Asmussen. "We're worried in the sense of, 'Will he be up to par in his first race back?' He's trained beautifully, but he's going to meet Gold Storm, who is going to go 1:08 and change in this race. If they were going to go 1:10 and change we'd do it differently. Give Gold Storm his credit."

Ole Rebel, third to Gold Storm in the Col. Power and winner of the Thanksgiving Handicap on opening day, has been sharpened by trainer Andrew Leggio in morning works and could close for a share.

Britt's Jules is a multiple graded- stakes-placed runner who has run in sprints and routes and has tried turf and dirt. He is also training well, but it is hard to see him winning this. The same goes for Louisiana-bred Lac Laronge, who may challenge the pace, and recent claiming winner Premier Performer.

Crimson Stag makes turf debut

Crimson Stag is likely to be the prohibitive favorite when he makes his first start on grass Saturday in the $100,000 Gentilly Handicap for 3-year-old Louisiana-breds at a mile. He will carry high weight of 123 pounds. My Pocket and Betnow, impressive recent maiden winners on the grass, appear to pose the biggest threats.

The real question is whether Crimson Stag will handle the turf. "He's never stepped on it," said trainer Dallas Stewart. "They don't let you train on the grass here. I'm hoping it rains."