03/13/2003 12:00AM

Stakes double for Reynolds and Co.


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Saturday could be a day of celebration for trainer Pat Reynolds and Flatbird Stable, the connections of Peeping Tom and Shawklit Mint, two legitimate stakes contenders on the Aqueduct card.

Peeping Tom is among the starters in a strong lineup for the Toboggan and Shawklit Mint will be the favorite in the undercard stakes, the $75,000-added Broadway Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares.

Like the Toboggan, the Broadway will be run at six furlongs, not seven, because of the delay in opening the main track.

Shawklit Mint, 4 for 7 on the inner track, carries high weight of 123 pounds, conceding four to nine pounds to her six rivals. Shawklit Mint, a 4-year-old daughter of Air Forbes Won, is trying for her first stakes win.

In her last start on Feb. 21, Shawklit Mint was up in time to win a classified allowance race by a half-length. In a career-best performance, Shawklit Mint was a nine-length winner of a third-level allowance on Dec. 12. The victory earned her a Beyer Speed Figure of 108.

In between those starts, Shawklit Mint finished fifth in the Interborough and second in the Correction. Reynolds said the filly probably regressed in the Interborough after her big allowance win.

"She's as good as hands can get her right now," Reynolds said. "She's kicked her game up a notch since her last win. I have to feel good about her and [Peeping] Tom."

Richard Migliore rides Shawklit Mint, who likes to make her run from off the pace. Shawklit Mint drew post 2.

Drama Queen, the runner-up in last year's New York Oaks, and She's Got a Beat, a winner of her last two in open company, look like Shawklit Mint's toughest opponents.

March 21 target for main track

The earliest the main track could open is March 21, New York Racing Association officials said Thursday. Management is expected to have a better idea this weekend when the opening will take place.

Jerry Porcelli, NYRA's track superintendent, and his crew have been working the main track all week but need some help from the weather. Sleet was falling Thursday afternoon, although more seasonable weather was expected for the weekend.

"Wet or cold stops us in our tracks," Porcelli said. "The cushion is not totally defrosted. Until we have it all loose, we can't start grading it properly."

Chavez to ride Colita

Colita, who makes his next start in Sunday's $200,000 Gotham after finishing fifth as the favorite in the Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, will have a new rider.

Jorge Chavez will come up from Florida to ride Colita, who is undefeated in two inner track starts. Chavez is scheduled to ride Midway Cat in Saturday's $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

Barry Irwin, the president of Team Valor Stables, the syndicate that owns Colita, said Chavez approached trainer Carlos Morales about riding the colt.

"This horse has a high-set epiglottis and you kind of have to be careful when you ride him," Irwin said. "You can't be heavy-handed and overdo it with him. You need a guy that will be patient."

Colita, who has trained at the Palm Meadows training facility in Florida since running in the Sam Davis on Feb. 22, was scheduled to arrive in New York on Friday.

Wait benefits Ground Storm

The postponement of the $75,000 Stymie could turn out be a blessing for Ground Storm, who won the race last year.

Originally scheduled for March 8, the Stymie was canceled because of poor track conditions and rescheduled for Sunday. Ground Storm was not in the original field because he had a quarter crack. With the crack patched and an extra week to get ready, Ground Storm is likely to run in the Stymie, which was to be redrawn on Friday.

"It's a pretty good possibility," said Leana Willaford, an assistant to Ground Storm's trainer, Bill Mott.

Ground Storm worked a half-mile in 50.25 seconds at Belmont Park on Thursday.