12/01/2005 1:00AM

Stewart has favorite in Hot Storm


Seven years after Freddie Frisson gave Dallas Stewart his first and only victory in the Holiday Inaugural at Turfway Park, things are going quite well for horse and trainer.

Freddie Frisson has made an indelible mark as a broodmare, being the dam of First Samurai, one of the top 2-year-olds of 2005. Meanwhile, Stewart is having another highly productive year, with his stable on pace to surpass the $3 million mark for just the second time since 1997, when he left his 11-year post as an assistant to D. Wayne Lukas.

Saturday, Stewart will be represented by the likely favorite in the $50,000 Holiday Inaugural when Hot Storm faces 11 other fillies and mares in the six-furlong race at the Florence, Ky., track.

Hot Storm, said Stewart, "reminds me a lot of Freddie Frisson in one major respect. Freddie Frisson was very honest, and so is this filly. They both lay it all out there."

Hot Storm, a 3-year-old Stormy Atlantic filly, already is a proven quantity over the all-weather Polytrack surface at Turfway, having won the Sept. 10 Weekend Delight Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths under Jesus Castanon. Earlier this week, as Stewart dispersed his stable from Churchill Downs to Gulfstream Park and Turfway, one of the horses he sent to Turfway was Hot Storm.

"She acted like she really liked that surface when she won there a couple months ago," he said.

Stewart will be at Calder to run Flanders Fields in the What a Pleasure on Saturday, but Bob Adams, a Cincinnati-area resident who owns and co-bred Hot Storm, will be on hand for the Holiday Inaugural.

Hot Storm, with Castanon to ride, drew post 10 in a 12-horse field. Perhaps the strongest challengers are two horses entered off shorter races on turf: Tara's Touch and Mocha Queen, the two-three finishers in the Franklin County at Keeneland.

One longshot possibility is Darn That Girl, whose first try under the care of former Bob Baffert assistant John Good resulted in a three-length allowance win at Keeneland.

The Holiday Inaugural is the first of five stakes at Turfway's holiday meet, which runs through Dec. 31. The winter-spring meet runs Jan. 1 to April 6.

The Holiday Inaugural, which dates to 1986, is the 10th of 12 races on a Saturday card that also includes two allowances (races 8 and 9). First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.