03/14/2007 12:00AM

Softer spot for Storm Trust


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - After taking on Adore the Gold, Forefathers, and Cowtown Cat in the Swale Stakes in his 3-year-old debut, Storm Trust will receive some major class relief when he returns against relatively modest first-level allowance competition in Friday's third race at Gulfstream Park.

The six-furlong sprint offers a $46,000 purse and serves as the co-feature along with an optional claimer with first-level allowance conditions carded at a mile in race 8.

Storm Trust launched his career in high style for trainer Todd Pletcher last fall at Aqueduct when he set a rapid pace en route to an easy 6 1/4-length victory going 5 1/2 furlongs. The performance was good enough for Pletcher to step Storm Trust right into the Grade 2 Swale but after forcing a 22-second opening quarter-mile Storm Trust had had enough, eventually tiring badly to finish a well-beaten sixth. Race winner Adore the Gold came out of the race to finish a close fourth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth while third-place finisher Cowtown Cat returned to win the Grade 3 Gotham last weekend in New York.

Storm Trust has continued to train well at Palm Beach Downs, where he has had three works since the Swale, including a bullet half-mile in 49.00 on March 9.

About all that could keep Storm Trust from getting back to the winner's circle would be a protracted speed duel with either Double Colico or Art and Soul.

Double Colico launched his career at Tampa Bay Downs, where he romped by eight lengths in a maiden race after setting all the pace from the rail on Feb. 3.

Art and Soul won his maiden in similar gate-to-wire fashion under a $62,500 price tag here on Jan. 12, but flashed only brief speed following a slow start before tiring badly when stepping up to allowance company.

A hotly contested pace could enhance the chances of Busy Business, the only two-time winner in the field, who returns to the allowance ranks off a come-from-behind, 1 3/4-length victory over open $62,500 claimers on Feb. 22. The 86 Beyer Speed Figure he earned for the performance is the highest of any member of the field.

* Dr. Eli will be among the choices in a wide-open field of eight older horses set to go a mile in the co-featured eighth race. A consistent sort, Dr. Eli may have to run down the sharp Stash the Boots, who is in good form but perhaps better suited to distances of six furlongs or less.