04/09/2003 11:00PM

Stormin Oedy needs pace to attack

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Stormin Oedy can't do the job by himself. A late-running sprinter who sometimes falls double-digit lengths back in the first quarter-mile of his races, Stormin Oedy can win only if the front-runners tire. In Saturday's $75,000 Fire Plug Stakes at Pimlico, Stormin Oedy should get the fast and contested pace he needs to make his rally successful.

Stormin Oedy, trained by Michael Petro and to be ridden by Nick Petro, drew post 5 in a field of six 3-year-olds and up in the six-furlong Fire Plug. At least three horses to his inside figure to vie for the lead, setting up the race perfectly for Stormin Oedy.

It has taken Stormin Oedy several starts to come around this year, but his last start, a dead-heat third-place finish in the Endless Surprise at Laurel last month, showed he's back in form. Stormin Oedy stalked the pace from only about four lengths back and lost by a half-length.

Sassy Hound edged Stormin Oedy for second in the Endless Surprise, but his task figures to be much tougher Saturday. From the rail, Sassy Hound may have no choice but to try for the lead, and the two horses to his outside - Crossing Point and Pioneer Boy - are speedsters who are nearly always in front early.

If one of these shakes loose early, it will probably be Crossing Point. Crossing Point has been in front after a quarter-mile in at least his last 10 starts, including his last race, a fourth-place finish at 1-5 in a 5 1/2-furlong optional claimer. Crossing Point won the Paumonok Handicap at Aqueduct two starts back in January, but his best race may have come last November, when he just failed to hold off True Direction in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight at Aqueduct.