08/06/2007 12:00AM

Martin rewarded for patience with Thunderestimate

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - As well as Thunderestimate ran here in his debut last summer, trainer Carlos Martin thought he'd see greater things from the gelding if he gave him more time to grow into his large frame.

Thus far, Martin has been exactly right.

Away from the races for nine months after getting beat by a head in his debut, Thunderestimate has reeled off three consecutive victories to begin his 3-year-old season. He'll seek his fourth straight victory in Wednesday's $150,000 Cab Calloway Stakes at Saratoga. The Cab Calloway, scheduled for 1o1/8 miles on the inner turf, is restricted to progeny of New York-based stallions.

Martin said Thunderestimate, a son of Western Expression, was such a big 2-year-old that he felt he needed to let him grow into his body a bit more and let him fill out.

"Being overcautious turned out to be a good thing," Martin said. "I think there's no question he's getting better."

Martin believes Thunderestimate beat a solid field of New York-breds when he took a second-level allowance race at Belmont on July 8. Al Basha and Spurred, the second- and third-place finishers from that race, were coming off open-length allowance victories. Admiral Bird, who finished fourth that day, was the horse that beat Thunderestimate by a head last Aug. 10.

"That was as tough an allowance race as you'll ever see," Martin said. "The only one that wasn't in there was Pays to Dream," who won Saturday's Glow Stakes here.

Martin said that since his July 8 win, Thunderestimate has trained sensationally and he expects a big effort from him on Wednesday.

"I think he's going to run his best race on Wednesday," said Martin, whose horse will break from post 3 under Edgar Prado.

Good Prospect has run two good races on turf. He was beaten by a half-length when third to Al Basha in a maiden race here last year and won a nine-furlong second-level allowance race on May 10 from which the runner-up came back to win. Good Prospect has run in two dirt stakes since then and also would be a contender should the race be washed off the turf.

"I'm excited about him." trainer Leah Gyarmati said. "This is the perfect race for him. He runs good dirt or turf, but he moves up on turf. He likes a muddy track, too."

In the Spotlight moves from the outside post to the rail for trainer John Hertler. Logic Way, Ger Serious, and Solid Strike are also in with a chance.