01/24/2002 12:00AM

New York-bred colt could get his chance in the Risen Star

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NEW ORLEANS - Lord Ofthe Thunder, a New York-bred gem in the rough, may travel to Fair Grounds this weekend for a shot at this track's major 3-year-old stakes races.

Dick Lundy, who trains the colt for Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable, said Lord Ofthe Thunder had been scheduled to van from his base at Aqueduct to New Orleans on Saturday for a start in the Grade 3 Risen Star on Feb. 17. But because unusually good weather in New York has kept Lord Ofthe Thunder on a regular training schedule, Lundy said he and Paragallo also had begun considering the Feb. 7 Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct for Lord Ofthe Thunder's next race. The Whirlaway could serve as a prep for the Louisiana Derby.

No one knows just how good Lord Ofthe Thunder might be. He has taken advantage of his New York-bred status to run wild over state-bred company in his last two starts, winning a sprint maiden race by 15 lengths and his two-turn debut on Jan. 18 by more than six lengths.

Lord Ofthe Thunder was under wraps through the stretch run in his last win, and Lundy said he was a bit concerned that the colt might have won too easily.

"That's the concern," the trainer said. "He didn't get a whole lot out of the race."

The colt's pedigree, by Saint Ballado out of a Deputy Minister mare, is more Kentucky than New York, and Paragallo paid $240,000 for him as a yearling. Lundy lights up when he talks about the colt and held him in high regard long before his career debut.

"He's really a nice horse, classy and good-looking," Lundy said. "With his pedigree, and when you see him in person, you'd think of him as a horse that would like a route of ground. He's only had three races, but he's done everything really well. It's time for him to step up and see what he's got."

Fifty Stars to Texas clinic

Last year's Louisiana Derby winner Fifty Stars has been sent from Fair Grounds to the Elgin Vet Clinic in Elgin, Texas after breaking the splint bone in his right front leg during a Wednesday workout.

Steve Asmussen, trainer of Fifty Stars, said a final decision on how to treat the injury is forthcoming, but that surgical removal of the bone seemed likely.

The splint is not a weight-bearing bone and can be taken out without compromising a horse's performance. If the bone is left in to heal, it can lead to irritation in the suspensory ligament.

The injury was on the same leg from which bone chips were removed after his ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, but Asmussen doubts the injuries were linked.

Fifty Stars, who hasn't raced since the Kentucky Derby, went lame while completing a workout that would have put him a step closer to his comeback.

"I got a hollow feeling," trainer Steve Asmussen said.

If he has surgery, Fifty Stars would remain in a stall for about two weeks, then take daily walks for 45 days before returning to the track.

Training races talent-packed

Potential stars abounded in Wednesday's four five-furlong training races here.

From a pedigree perspective, Elrose, a $700,000 yearling purchase, ruled the day, since she counts as her older brother Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm. By Deputy Minister, Elrose, trained by Josie Carroll, won the third race in 1:03.80, a second slower than the next slowest time, but rallied from last after a slow break.

In the first race, Prima Green, a half-sister to Fair Grounds Oaks winner Real Cozzy, finished third for trainer Danny Peitz. Prima Green, by Green Dancer, raced wide on the turn and was never asked for much run as she finished well.

The winner of the first, Split the Arrow, showed speed, ran fast and has the look of a debut winner for owner Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad.

Mark the Shark will sneak up on nobody in his career bow after winning the second race by nine lengths in a very fast 1:01.80.

A Virginia-bred by Summer Squall, Mark the Shark is trained by Hilary Pridham, who went out on her own as a head trainer just last fall. Mark the Shark has speed and finished well while never asked for his best.

Finally, Balanced Bodgit, fourth in the last race, is a horse to watch for in route races. By Captain Bodgit, he ran the stretch well and galloped out strongly for trainer Steve Asmussen, making a nice physical appearance in the outing.

Northcote Road going to Mardi Gras

Trainer Blackie Huffman has committed his star turf horse Northcote Road to the Mardi Gras Handicap on Feb. 12 rather than next weekend's Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Stakes.

"I didn't even nominate to the other race, so I guess that tells you where we're going," Huffman said.

The 7-year-old Northcote Road has won the Mardi Gras two years in a row. He comes out of a win in the Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap, which was rained off turf. On Thursday, he worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds, the fastest of 47 works at the distance.

* Unbridled Elaine worked a half-mile in 50.40 seconds on Thursday, her second breeze since returning from a winter freshening. Trainer Dallas Stewart hopes to make the Feb. 23 Chou Croute Handicap with her.