05/19/2008 11:00PM

Sly Storm tries to back up debut win


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Tom Proctor has seen a lot of flashes in the pan during a 30-year training career, so when one of his horses earns a big speed figure in winning her career debut, he doesn't get overly enthused.

Sly Storm, an easy winner as the favorite in her first and only start last month at Keeneland, has a sky's-the-limit look when returning to action Thursday in the seven-furlong $43,100 feature at Churchill Downs.

"I think she's a quality filly," Proctor said. "She was well-meant when we ran her over at Keeneland."

Sly Storm, a 3-year-old by the great Storm Cat, was bought for $500,000 as a yearling by the Glen Hill Farm of Leonard Lavin. Proctor, whose late father, Willard, began training horses for Lavin more than a half-century ago, unveiled her April 6 in a six-furlong Polytrack race. She won by nearly five lengths, earning an 89 Beyer Speed Figure.

"I doubt if she beat much that day," said Proctor, noting that the runner-up, Ghoul, was defeated Sunday in a maiden race at Arlington Park. "But that doesn't mean this filly can't go on and be a nice one."

The Proctor stable earned more than $2.2 million in 2007, the most since Proctor began training in 1978. One of his best prior years was 1994, when One Dreamer, bred and owned by Lavin, upset the Breeders' Cup Distaff at 47-1 at Churchill.

Sly Storm, with Robby Albarado to ride, will break from post 2 in a field of 10 entered in the lone allowance of a nine-race Thursday card. Proctor said he was unsure whether Sly Storm "will get all the seven-eighths, but I'd say she'll be in there trying."

Two of the top challengers to Sly Storm are drawn to either side of her. Looney Lynda (post 1) comes off a solid second-place finish for these same first-level allowance conditions, while Solicit (post 3) was twice beaten at 2-5 odds at this same level at the recent Oaklawn Park meet.

Looney Lynda will be ridden by Elvis Trujillo, who started his Churchill meet with a bang after having moved here last week from south Florida. Trujillo won with 3 of his first 7 mounts, including a victory aboard Eaton's Gift in the Matt Winn Stakes on Saturday.

Upcoming stakes at Churchill are the $150,000 Louisville Handicap on Saturday and the $100,000 Winning Colors Stakes on Monday, Memorial Day. The track is dark Wednesday, May 28.