12/17/2003 12:00AM

Stewart's luck due to change


NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Dallas Stewart has begun his Fair Grounds meet with 10 losing starters, a tough opening act, but nothing a two-race win streak wouldn't cure, and Stewart has live contenders in the eighth and ninth races here Friday.

Boston Song goes in the eighth, an entry-level allowance for 2-year-old fillies that should have implications for the Thelma Stakes here on Jan. 3. The ninth is a second-level allowance at about 5 1/2 furlongs on turf, a race for which Stewart has a 3-year-old Storm Cat colt named Captain Thunder, the certain favorite off a pair of wins this fall in Kentucky.

Captain Thunder, an Overbrook Farm homebred, made a go of racing at age 2, but floundered 14 months ago in a Keeneland maiden race, and wasn't seen again for nearly a year. He came back all grown up. In his comeback race, Captain Thunder dueled for the lead on a dead rail at Turfway Park and was beaten a neck. He has since taken two straight starts, a Keeneland maiden and a Churchill allowance.

Friday's race is his first on turf, but offspring of Storm Cat typically show equal, if not greater, ability on grass.

Opposing Stewart and Captain Thunder are G.W.'s Deputy, winner of three of his four starts on the Fair Grounds grass course, and My Master, an Argentine Group 3 stakes winner making his U.S. debut.

Boston Song, Stewart's 2-year-old filly, needed four tries to win her maiden, but the seasoning gave her the backbone to run well last out in her first start with winners. In a Nov. 28 entry-level allowance sprint at Churchill, Boston Song made the lead in the stretch, only to be caught late by a nice filly named Saltwater Runner.

Among her nine rivals is Movant, who won her maiden Nov. 16 at Churchill by more than five lengths.

"She's been a horse that's gotten better with race experience," said trainer Tom Amoss. "I think she's a very good filly. As far as 2-year-old fillies in my barn that have started, she's the hope right now. She has the kind of pedigree that makes you think she has a future."

Two others merit consideration in this race, Shadow Cast, a debut winner for trainer Neil Howard, and Perilous Night, a Dickie Small-trained filly who finished second opening day to Sister Swank, who already has punched her ticket to the Thelma.