02/05/2002 12:00AM

Lord ofthe Thunder out of Whirlaway


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Lord ofthe Thunder, a promising New York-bred 3-year-old, won't make his stakes debut as scheduled in Saturday's $75,000-added Whirlaway at Aqueduct because of a pulled muscle behind.

Dick Lundy, who trains Lord ofthe Thunder for Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable, said it's not a serious injury and won't cost him a significant amount of training time with the colt, who is stabled at Aqueduct.

"He missed a few days so he can't make Saturday's race, but we don't anticipate any major delay with this," Lundy said Tuesday by phone from the Fair Grounds, where he has horses in training. "He was back at the track jogging this morning. We just needed a few days to get squared away with this and unfortunately couldn't make the race. I was really looking forward to it."

Lundy was hoping to use the Whirlaway as a means to measure Lord ofthe Thunder's ability level. The winner of two restricted races, he hasn't been tested for quality. He won a maiden race in his second start on Dec. 27 by 15 lengths and bounced right back to capture a first-level allowance by 6 1/4 lengths on Jan. 18.

Lundy said the $200,000 Gotham, which launches New York's trail to the Triple Crown in earnest on March 17, is a definite consideration for Lord ofthe Thunder.

The 3-year-olds pointing to the 1 1/16-mile Whirlaway are D'Coach, the runner-up in the Count Fleet; Goshin's Lad; Saratoga Blues; Smoked Em; and Storm Commander. Trainer John Servis is expected to enter either Colonial Terms or Parade of Music. Eye of the Comet is also possible.

Stymie next for Ground Storm

Ground Storm, 2 for 3 over the inner track after winning here on Sunday, will be pointed to the $100,000-added Stymie Handicap on March 9. The Grade 3 Stymie at 1 1/8 miles is the last scheduled stakes on the inner track before the main track's opening, tentatively scheduled for March 13.

Ground Storm, a 6-year-old son of Summer Squall trained by Bill Mott, has come into his own since making his inner track debut in December. He won a classified allowance on Dec. 16 by 4 1/2 lengths and then came back to finish second behind Evening Attire, the dominant older horse this winter in New York, in the Aqueduct Handicap on Jan. 19.

On Sunday, Ground Storm was a 4 3/4-length winner over two-time Gallant Fox winner Coyote Lakes in a 1 1/4-mile classified allowance race.

Should Evening Attire run back in the Stymie, something his connections are considering, Ground Storm will get another crack at the horse who beat him by 2 3/4 lengths in the Aqueduct.

"[Evening Attire] handled us pretty easily in the Aqueduct, but I think Sunday's race was a nice prep for us," said Seth Bunzel, Mott's assistant. "Ground Storm has really taken to the winter conditions and has been very enthusiastic training-wise. These races have been building confidence in him."

Miss Splash leads the pack

Seven older fillies and mares were entered in Thursday's feature, a second-level allowance race.

Miss Splash, a 4-year-old, is the likely favorite for trainer Allen Iwinski. Miss Splash was overmatched in her last start when she finished eighth in the Grade 3 Affectionately on Jan. 12. In her previous start, Miss Splash overpowered a first-level allowance field by 6 3/4 lengths over the inner track.

Apprentice Lorenzo Lezcano, the leading rider at the meet, has the mount.

The Numbers Add Up and Any Scoop are the other main contenders.

* The deadline for Saratoga's reserved seat applications is Feb. 15. All applications postmarked by that date will be entered in the initial seating lottery. Applications are available online at www.nyra.com or by calling (718) 641-4700 ext. 3458.