01/12/2005 1:00AM

'Storm' draws outside

Lone Star Park
Storm Surge, winning the Lone Star Juvenile, is likely to press the pace in Saturday's Lecomte.

NEW ORLEANS - Storm Surge drew the outside post and was installed as the 8-5 favorite when a field of six was entered Wednesday for Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 at the Fair Grounds meet leading to the March 12 Louisiana Derby.

The Lecomte is the featured race on "Road to the Derby Kickoff Day," which also includes the Tiffany Lass stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the Col. Bradley Handicap for older horses at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, and the Dr. A.B. Leggio Memorial Handicap, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares. All carry $100,000 purses.

The 3-year-old series continues Feb. 12, Louisiana Derby Preview Day, with the Grade 3 Risen Star Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. Storm Surge, winner of the six-furlong Sugar Bowl Stakes in his last start and the $100,000 Lone Star Juvenile on Breeders' Cup Day, is expected to make or press the pace under Robby Albarado in a race devoid of front-runners.

"It's good to have the outside post," said Stewart. "With six horses it's not a disadvantage. He might be a little wide going into the first turn, but he's got enough speed to get into a good position. He should be on the pace. I think he's kind of that type of horse. Hopefully it's not going to be too fast."

An Overbrook Farm homebred by Storm Cat, Storm Surge ran poorly in his only start around two turns, the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs, but Stewart said he is inclined to throw that race out.

"I don't know what happened that day," he said. "He just got caught up in a hot pace. He had an inside post and was ridden by a jockey who was unfamiliar with him."

Kansas City Boy, winner of a maiden race at Churchill Downs in his last start, is the 3-1 second choice and will be ridden by Carlos Marquez Jr. for trainer Ken McPeek. Biloxi Palace, who has won both his races this meet, is the 7-2 third choice. Completing the field are Smooth Bid, Major League, and Silver Haze.

Punch Appeal was named the 6-5 favorite in a field of seven entered for the Tiffany Lass. Bailey will ride Punch Appeal, who is coming off a front-running score in the $250,000 Delta Princess for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Enduring Will is the 5-2 second choice off her 10-length victory in the Silver Spring Breeders' Cup in her last start. Chubbs Last Call has won three straight following a Carl Bowman claim. Louisiana Futurity winner The Beter Man Can, stakes-placed Take a Check, and maiden winners Emmy's Storm and Eyes On Eddy complete the field.

Honor in War, winner of the Grade 1 Woodward Reserve Turf Classic in 2003, tops a field of 11 in the Col. Bradley Handicap and will carry high weight of 119 pounds. Colorful Judgement, winner of the Grade 2 Sky Classic Handicap at Woodbine last year, was assigned 118 pounds. Candid Glen, winner of the Grade 2 Explosive Bid Handicap in 2003, is in at 117. Stakes-placed America Alive is next at 116, followed by Rapid Proof and Sea Dub, 115; False Promises, Justlikedawg, Northern Scene and Social King, 114; and Xiris, 112.

A field of 13 was entered for the Leggio, headed by Dyna Da Wyna, the 122-pound highweight. Dyna Da Wyna has won four stakes, including the Grade 3 Valley View at Keeneland. Multiple stakes winner Ambition Unbridled, Mocha Queen, and Shaunavon are all in at 118. Speedy Sonata is next at 117, followed by Black Escort and Tara's Touch, 116; Ahuriri Hikawai and Our Love, 115, Datttsdawayilikeit and Stirrin Up a Storm, 113; and Beautiful Bets and Shari's Gold Sole, 112.

* The four stakes, races 6-9 on the card, will be part of a guaranteed $250,000 Pick 4.

Big Day in the Big Easy

Lecomte Stakes (G3)3YO1 mile$100,000
Tiffany Lass Stakes3YO F1 mile100,000
Col. E.R. Bradley H.4YO & up1 1/16 miles (T)100,000
Leggio Memorial H.4YO & up, F/M5 1/2 furlongs (T)100,000