07/06/2001 12:00AM

Special Occasion's a perfect fit


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Special Occasion is 7 years old, and only getting better with age. That is a scary prospect for his rivals in Sunday's $50,000 John McSorley five-furlong turf sprint.

Special Occasion, who holds five-furlong course records at The Meadowlands and Monmouth, picked up where he left off in his first start this meet, winning a money allowance here June 10. He should be a favorite to capture yet another turf sprint stakes on his home course. Special Occasion will carry 118 pounds and jockey Joe Bravo.

"He's strictly a five-eighths turf horse," said trainer Eddie Broome, who has trained Special Occasion since he was a 3-year-old. "He is just very quick and tough to beat at the conditions."

New York-based trainer John Terranova sends in Riot, who will be making his first start since placing in a six-furlong dirt allowance at Aqueduct on March 31. Aaron Gryder comes in to ride Riot, who was a successful turf sprinter in California before moving to the Terranova barn off the claim four starts back. He makes his first turf start for Terranova.

Trainer John Servis sends out Tekken, who will be cutting back from turf routes. Rudirudy, trained by Gaston Sandoval, has had the bad fortune of running in the slop in his last three races, all of which were slated for the turf. With a return to his best surface, he will be tough with Eibar Coa in the reins.

Future watch: Blue Burner

Trainer John Tammaro III's colt Blue Burner won the meet's first juvenile allowance on Wednesday, and now Tammaro holds a great hand for the 2-year-old stakes later in the meet. Owned by George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable, Blue Burner won his maiden here on June 14 by 5 1/2 lengths at 14-1. He was sent off at a much shorter price (1-5) on Wednesday, and won by 2 1/4 lengths despite breaking slowly. Blue Burner, a son of French Deputy out of Haiati, covered the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.51.

"He doesn't act like the horse that is going to show speed," Tammaro said. "I wasn't worried at all when he broke slowly. Watching the replay, though, I could tell that he is still very green."

In his first start, Blue Burner easily overcame the 10th post to win going away. Along with the post, his high odds were related to his workouts leading into that start. He had been working over the slow Bowie training track, leading the public to believe that his preparation for the race was mediocre. Adjusted to Monmouth, his Bowie workouts would be at least two seconds faster. This showed after after he won his maiden, when Blue Burner recorded two rapid workouts, including a bullet 59.60 for five furlongs on June 30.

Jersey-bred Thistyranthasclass, last year's Long Branch winner, flashed signs of returning to last summer's top form, as he won Wednesday's featured optional claiming allowance for Tammaro and owner Roseland Farm Stable. With the win, Thistyranthasclass rebounded from a tough nose loss to Sea of Tranquility in the Jersey Breeders' Handicap here June 16. That day, he bled through his small dosage of Lasix.

In his last race Thistyranthasclass rated off the pace, but he was sent to the front under jockey Carlos Marquez on Wednesday. Marquez had him in hand the entire way, glancing back three times from the final turn to the wire to check for any late runners. Marquez never showed the 1-2 favorite the whip, and cruised home to win by open lengths. The possible next start for the Jersey-bred is in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile on Haskell Day.

"He's a big, heavy horse that is tough to get fit," Tammaro said. "He is just starting to get fit now."

- U.S. Gold, trained by Gary Contessa, won the Malouf Auto Group Starter Series #1 on June 17, and will attempt to capture the second portion of the series in Sunday's undercard.