05/24/2005 11:00PM

Stormin' Lyon a tough call off long layoff


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Returning from injury, Stormin' Lyon has a winning streak to protect when he starts in Friday's $62,000 Bullet Stakes at Hollywood Park.

The minor stakes marks Stormin Lyon's return after a layoff of nearly a year, but comes over a course and distance that he is proven to like.

, 4, has won his last two starts - the Harry Henson Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf here in April 2004 and an allowance race at six furlongs on dirt in June 2004.

Trained by Brian Koriner, Stormin' Lyon was scheduled to start at Calder last summer, but became ill and missed the race. Following that, he underwent surgery to have a bone chip removed from a knee, and did not resume training until earlier this year.

"He had little injuries, so we gave him the time," Koriner said. "He's a lot sounder now."

The Bullet Stakes is restricted to horses that have not won a first-place purse of $60,000 since the start of 2004. When Stormin' Lyon won the Harry Henson, the first-place purse was worth $46,035.

The Bullet is a rare five-furlong turf race at Hollywood Park. There was one run in June 2004 for 2-year-olds. The course record is 58.28 seconds.

Koriner believes Stormin' Lyon is ready.

On Saturday, Stormin' Lyon worked four furlongs in 45.40 seconds at Bay Meadows, the fastest of 30 recorded works at the distance.

"He's fast. He carries a lot of weight," Koriner said. "Hopefully, he won't need a start."

While Stormin' Lyon has shown ample speed throughout his career, his best chance is to win from a stalking position.

There are only six runners in the Bullet Stakes, but Hombre Rapido and De Valmont are very quick. However, both have developed the tendency of setting quick fractions and fading. is winless in nine starts since the Grade 3 Los Angeles Times Handicap in May 2003.

, who specializes in turf racing, is winless in three starts. He was sixth in the Grade 3 Aegon Turf Sprint at five furlongs at Churchill Downs on May 6.

A fast pace would help the closers Golden Arrow and Geronimo.

Geronimo and Golden Arrow were second and third behind Shadow of Illinois in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita on April 18.

Geronimo won the Green Flash Handicap at five furlongs on turf at Del Mar last summer. He was claimed for $80,000 in February.