06/11/2001 11:00PM

Shooting Party locked and loaded


ELMONT, N.Y. - Shooting Party ran a good third behind the talented fillies Cat Chat and Xtra Heat in her stakes debut in the $150,000 Nassau County on May 9. The Grade 2 Nassau County was her fourth career start, and after steadying on the turn, she was beaten only 2 1/4 lengths by Cat Chat and Xtra Heat, who finished noses apart.

That effort makes Shooting Party the one to beat Thursday in Belmont Park's sixth race, an allowance that drew five 3-year-old fillies who have never won three races.

Shooting Party, trained by Allen Jerkens, won her career debut in March at Gulfstream Park by 6 1/4 lengths after setting the pace and producing the first quarter in a sizzling 21.95 seconds. Jerkens ran her back a month later at Aqueduct, and she again set a strong pace, but lost the race by a nose.

Before the Nassau County, Shooting Party was strictly a front-runner, and was a comfortable 6 1/4-length winner of a first-level allowance on April 22.

Shooting Party is likely to spring to the early lead in Thursday's seven-furlong race - a style she seems prefers - despite rating off the pacesetters in the Nassau County.

Shooting Party worked a sharp five furlongs in 58.58 seconds, handily, Sunday, and breaks from post 5 in Thursday's race under Edgar Prado.

Shooting Party's main challenger is Erin Moor, who has had a brief freshening after finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Comely on April 13. Trained by John Kimmel, Erin Moor finished behind stakes winners Xtra Heat and Two Item Limit in graded company in the spring.

Richard Migliore, in a tight battle for first place with John Velazquez at this meet, rides Erin Moor from post 3.

Grandma Lu figures to flash speed from her rail post. A Salt Lake filly, she has been working bullets over Saratoga's training track for trainer Jennifer Leigh-Pedersen for her first race since last September.

Chasm caught a sloppy track and finished third at this level on May 23. A Gulch filly, trained by Shug McGaughey, she finished third behind Xtra Heat and Erin Moor in the Grade 3 Cicada in March and then was fourth in the Comely.

Home Deed, a winner of her last two in claiming races at Belmont Park, including a $50,000 maiden race, completes the field.