04/17/2004 11:00PM

Meteor Storm gallops in San Juan Capistrano


ARCADIA, Calif. - Meteor Storm bit trainer Wally Dollase's thumb early Monday while walking off the Santa Anita racetrack after a gallop. Less than 12 hours later, Meteor Storm repaid Dollase with a convincing victory in the $250,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap.

"That was a good omen," Dollase said.

The victory in the San Juan Capistrano, combined with Meteor Storm's win in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Handicap in March, has given Dollase and the 15-person partnership that owns the 5-year-old a reason to consider Meteor Storm a candidate for the Breeders' Cup Turf at Lone Star Park in October.

"The horse has a great mind and a great attitude," Dollase said.

Meteor Storm ($7.60) ran about 1 3-4 miles on turf in 2:45.98 in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano. Ridden by Jose Valdivia, Jr., Meteor Storm stalked the pace for the first 1 1-2 miles, rallied three-wide on the final turn and made a winning move in early stretch. He led by 2 1-2 lengths at the eighth pole.

"I told Jose to save as much ground as he could," Dollase said.

Meteor Storm finished 1 1-2 lengths in front of 3-1 Rhythm Mad, who finished a length in front of Runaway Dancer in the field of nine.

Rhythm Mad rallied from eighth in the final quarter-mile. He was steadied in traffic briefly in early stretch, an interruption that frustrated jockey Alex Solis.

"At the half-mile pole, I should have started the run, but in a mile and three-quarter race you have to save as much as you can," Solis said. "There are a lot of great races in this horse's future."

* Solis had better luck in the $107,300 San Simeon Handicap, guiding Glick ($4) to a narrow win over stablemate Cayoke in the turf sprint.

Glick stalked pacesetter Grandiser down the hillside, took the lead crossing the main track and held off Cayoke by three-quarters of a length. Glick ran about 6 1-2 furlongs in 1:11.46.

Jeff Mullins trains the first two finishers. Summer Service finished third in the field of six.

Glick, an 8-year-old who races for Robert Bone, was claimed for $40,000 on December and has since earned $145,780.