05/09/2003 11:00PM

This Storm Flag can really fly, too


MIAMI - Storm Flag Flying won the Eclipse Award as North America's top juvenile filly last year and now is among the leaders of the nation's 3-year-old filly division. But for pure speed, even she may not be able to keep up with Storm Flag, a 3-year-old filly who will make her stakes debut against six others in Monday's $40,000 Supah Jess Stakes.

Storm Flag has an early turn of foot seldom seen around these parts. Storm Flag has won 3 of 4 career starts and is perfect over her home course of Calder. Her only loss came after she set fractions of 21.36 seconds and 44.45 before losing by 1 1/2 lengths to the more experienced Crafty Brat at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 22. By comparison, Native Heir - a graded stakes winner and holder of the Gulfstream Park 6 1/2-furlong track record - posted fractions of 21.69 and 44.31 in the next race on the card, a money allowance race.

"I've never had a horse as fast as she is and I've trained some pretty quick ones over the years," said Richard Root, trainer of Storm Flag. "In fact I don't think I've ever seen anything as fast as she is down here."

Storm Flag has been plagued by foot problems and began her career running under a $20,000 claiming tag. Idle for over three months following her loss to Crafty Brat, she returned with an 11 1/4-length victory in a first-level optional claimer.

"When she got beat at Gulfstream she'd been away a long time and went awfully fast the first part of it," said Root. "Her last start didn't take anything out of her, but it's difficult to say how good she can be or how far she might go since she hasn't been tested yet. Nobody's run with her the first part of it in any of her races. Maybe nobody can."

If Storm Flag passes her class test in the Supah Jess, Root says he will point her for the $250,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes July 13.

Among Storm Flag's chief competition in the Supah Jess are her old nemesis Crafty Brat, the lightly raced Trupon On, and the stretch-running Bella Lauren.

Mr. Livingston may try dirt again

Mr. Livingston, winner of the faster division of the split Blazing Sword Stakes on the turf opening day, was conspicuous by his absence in Saturday's Carterista Handicap. His trainer, Bill Kaplan, is considering running him next in the Grade 3, $100,000 Memorial Day Handicap over the main track on May 26.

"He's been stakes placed on the dirt and we may want to try him on it again," said Kaplan, "particularly because it's a graded stakes."

Mr. Livingston has not run on dirt since July 21, 2001, when finishing second in a division of the Carterista after the race was taken off the grass due to rain. A son of El Prado, Mr. Livingston finished second in the Grade 3 Everglades Stakes on the main track during the spring of 2000.