01/29/2002 12:00AM

The Kid is flourishing after claim by Sider


NEW ORLEANS - Storybook Kid has turned into a storybook claim for trainer Alvin Sider. Since Sider claimed Storybook Kid early in the Fair Grounds meet, the 4-year-old colt has won three straight starter allowance races on turf.

That's a big step up from the $7,500 nonwinners-of-three dirt race he won the day Sider claimed him, but Storybook Kid seems to be getting stronger with each start. "Turf figured to move him up, but he's just blossomed," Sider said.

Sider's trying to keep Storybook Kid together and keep owner Steve Rieffel's feet on the ground. This is Rieffel's first racehorse, which means he has yet to taste defeat. "I keep telling him to watch out," Sider said.

Sider is a New Orleans native whose father also trained, and even when Sider was out of racing as a full-time gig, working in the pipe business for 14 years, he spent early mornings around the barn before donning shirt and tie and heading off to his day job. Monday, Sider was found near the end of training hours in the middle of cavernous Barn 16, poulticing a horse's leg - no surprise, since he is his own groom for the seven horses in his stable.

Storybook Kid has won about as many races in the last six weeks as Sider won all last year, but that's the way things can run with lower-level claimers.

"You keep going in," Sider said. "You don't find one like this if you stop claiming."

Sider liked two turf races Storybook Kid ran in Kentucky last fall and noted that his sire, Red Bishop, a turf horse himself, was stronger as a grass sire than a dirt sire. Sider wasted no time moving Storybook Kid to turf, and he responded with a big upset in a $10,000 starter allowance. He won at the same level again, beating a solid starter horse named Sargari by a neck, with both horses finishing very fast. Sunday, he defeated Sargari again, this time by a length, and once again Storybook Kid flew through the stretch.

Storybook Kid is eligible for a first-level allowance, and Sider said he planned to run him either in that kind of race or in another starter heat. "I'm not going to change much of anything right now," he said.

Full of Wonder has top potential

Trainer Mark Frostad unveiled another potential star Sunday for his powerful owner, Sam-Son Farm, when Full of Wonder won a maiden race on turf by one length.

It was far from an ordinary maiden win. Full of Wonder had not raced since March and he returned to action at a route distance without a prep race, running on turf for the first time in his career. Rating well off the early pace, Full of Wonder found his best stride in the stretch and powered home in the last furlong, opening up in the final yards while reaching out with long strides.

But the 4-year-old Full of Wonder is not cut out to be an ordinary horse. He is by Mr. Prospector out of the great broodmare Classy 'N Smart, making him a full brother to the exceptional mare Dance Smartly and the successful sire Smart Strike.

Full of Wonder made two starts here last year, finishing second behind a stakes-quality colt, Drewman. Frostad had big summer plans that were shelved when Full of Wonder came up with a bone chip in his knee that had to be surgically removed. With the summer lost, Frostad gave the colt the remainder of the year off to point for this season.

Frostad will look for a first-level allowance race for Full of Wonder.

Lecomte 1-2 target Risen Star

A rematch between Easyfromthegitgo and Sky Terrace, 3-year-old colts separated by a nose at the finish of Saturday's Lecomte Stakes, is set for the Grade 3 Risen Star here Feb. 17.

Steve Asmussen, who trains Easyfromthegitgo, confirmed the obvious on Sunday, saying his Lecomte winner would head to the Risen Star. He hopes Easyfromthegitgo can drop a little farther off the early pace in the Risen Star than he did in the Lecomte, when he stalked the early leaders through a quick pace.

One of those early leaders was Sky Terrace, who was soundly bumped from both sides leaving the gate, raced three wide on the first turn, but still almost won the Lecomte, his first start since November and only his second route race.

"As long as he comes out of it all right, we're pointing for the Risen Star," said Sky Terrace's trainer, Vickie Foley. "It was quite disappointing the way he got shuffled around. When you get beat a nose, all those little things catch up to you. I feel like if he'd broken well, we'd have won the race."

Albarado due back Thursday

Jockey Robby Albarado had hoped to resume riding here last weekend, but his case of chicken pox kept him off mounts from Friday through Monday.

Albarado had been given clearance to ride over the weekend, but wasn't feeling up to it, his agent, Lenny Pike, said.

The weekend results surely did little to boost his spirits. Nine horses Albarado had been scheduled to ride won Friday through Sunday.

"It's still better than last year, when he missed two and a half months," Pike said.

Albarado is expected to resume riding Thursday. He trails Eddie Martin 61 to 46 in the jockey standings. In the trainers' race, Steve Asmussen leads Tom Amoss 37 wins to 35.