01/16/2006 1:00AM

Special Teamer still has big potential


PHOENIX - Special Teamer's strong comeback run on Jan. 2 signified he may be ready to fulfill the promise he displayed last summer. Wednesday, he runs in a $12,200 allowance sprint at Turf Paradise, a 5 1/2-furlong event for 3-year-olds that drew a field of seven.

Special Teamer ran against winners last May in his first two outings, including a third in the ATBA Sales Stakes here, and then scored a 14 1/2-length win in a five-furlong allowance race at Yavapai Downs on June 11.

Trained by Bill Brashears, Special Teamer didn't race again until Jan. 2. He again used his speed and was able to edge clear in midstretch of the six-furlong event, but he got a little weary late and was run down by Exploititright. Special Teamer ended up more than two lengths behind the winner and was four lengths clear of third in what was a strong return run, one that shows he is back as good as ever - or better. Stevie Gomez has the return ride.

Special Teamer's main opposition may come from the class-dropping Storm War. Storm War won his maiden at Golden Gate on Nov. 18 and came here for the Dec. 12 Smokin Al. Well-backed at almost 3-1, Storm War was slow into stride but made a bit of a run to get third, losing by 16 lengths. Trained by Chad Ferguson, Storm War has worked since that race. Scott Stevens rides.

Another interesting runner is the filly Fiery Autumn Haze. She didn't do much in her first three outings, but may well have turned the corner in her last two. She was third by three-quarters of a length against maiden claimers here Nov. 12 and then went wire to wire to beat maiden claimers by 4 1/2 lengths Dec. 9. She certainly appears headed the right way for trainer Curt Ferguson. Vince Guerra keeps the call.