03/16/2005 12:00AM

Stormy Impact looks best of old boys

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STICKNEY, Ill. - The Friday program here at Hawthorne has as its nominal feature a $40,000 overnight stakes for 3-year-old fillies, but the compelling race is the one with the old men in it.

Friday's first race, a so-called money allowance with a $100,000 claiming option, pits 6-year-old Stormy Impact against 8-year-old Ask the Lord - neither of whom were close to coming into being when Magic Doe, who is also in this race, hit the ground in April of 1995.

Ten years later, Magic Doe still is racing at a surprisingly high-class level, and when he last ran at Hawthorne, on Nov. 13, he finished second in the $96,000 High Alexander Stakes.

Magic Doe wintered at Oaklawn Park with trainer Jim McCoy, finishing unplaced in a pair of sprint allowances probably designed, as much as anything, to ready a creaky body for Friday's route race. Magic Doe, once a crack sprinter, lost his speed as he aged, but had a renaissance in 2004 when McCoy tried longer distances.

But even if Magic Doe's form jumps forward Friday, he will be hard-pressed to beat Stormy Impact. Stormy Impact went just 1 for 10 last year, but still had a solid campaign, with a win in a $100,000 stakes race and a good fourth to Added Edge in the Nov. 13 Schaefer Mile at Hoosier. Like Magic Doe, Stormy Impact had a six-furlong sprint prep for Friday's route race, but Stormy Impact didn't run like a horse just getting ready; he made up five lengths from the first call to the finish of an overnight stakes, losing only to the excellent sprinter Silver Bid.

"He was fresh, and he ran a pretty decent race," said trainer Frank Kirby. "For sure, we were looking to stretch him out."

Ask the Lord won four races and almost $200,000 last year, but comes into this race after three decidedly subpar performances.

But even should Ask the Lord falter, his trainer, Bernie Flint, could have a good day.

Flint has the two most accomplished fillies in the featured stakes, Angel Trumpet and Im a Dixie Girl. Angel Trumpet runs from the front end, while Im a Dixie Girl comes from a few lengths off the pace. Spanning and Galactic Cat, both making their first starts of the season, also look like contenders.

Flag Officer aftermath

Raving Rocket and Win Me Over, the one-two finishers last Saturday in an overnight 3-year-old route stakes here, could meet again in the Illinois Derby on April 9, though Win Me Over is the less certain of the two to run.

Both horses appeared to exit the race - dubbed the Flag Officer - in good physical condition, though Larry Rivelli, Raving Rocket's trainer, said his horse was tired. Raving Rocket controlled a slow pace and pulled away to win by three lengths, but the Hawthorne racing surface was deep and laboring last Saturday, and Raving Rocket, Rivelli said, wasn't at peak fitness.

"That race should do him a lot of good," Rivelli said. "He'll have time to recover from it."

Raving Rocket looked like a comer when he blew out an early-season 2-year-old maiden field last summer at Arlington, but the colt battled minor problems - sore shins were the main culprit - during much of last year. The Flag Officer was his first start over a distance of ground.

"I always thought he'd be a better horse going long," said Rivelli.

Win Me Over, champion Illinois-bred 2-year-old of 2004, recovered from a stumbling start and made a strong stretch run just days after a long van ride here from Florida.

"I'll give him a little time to recover, since he had a hard week," said trainer Brian Williamson. "We'll nominate to the Illinois Derby and see who's coming."

Meanwhile, Humor at Last, fourth as the heavy favorite in the Flag Officer, will return to sprint racing against Illinois-bred competition, with an eye toward the Land of Lincoln Stakes here April 30. Trainer Tony Mitchell said Humor at Last disliked the loose, cuppy racing surface Saturday.

"If the track comes up like that again, we'll scratch and go on to something else," said Mitchell.

Injustice belongs to Team Tamweel

Injustice, who won the Grade 3 Azeri Stakes last Saturday at Oaklawn, was scheduled to ship Wednesday to Hawthorne, where she'll be pointed to the Sixty Sails Handicap on April 23.

The Azeri was Injustice's first start after being privately purchased by Mark Cornett's Turf Express Inc. and partners Darrell and Evelyn Yates, and turned over to trainer Wayne Catalano. The same group came up last season with Tamweel, who placed in a Grade 1 before being sold again for a large profit.

"Turf Express, Mark Cornett, he finds them, and then I go get on them and check them out," said Catalano. "[Cornett] does speed figures of his own, and if they have pedigree and they vet out, we'll buy them."

Catalano traveled to Oaklawn from Fair Grounds to test-drive Injustice earlier in the winter, and gave Cornett a favorable report.

"She moved real nice," Catalano said, "so I told them to go."

Injustice has sprinted for most of her career, but has turned a corner since stretching out to two-turn races this season. She raced on the lead in the Azeri, and showed heart to win by a half-length.

"It was a hard race on her, but she won't run for six weeks anyway," Catalano said.

Horsin' Around moves to Comcast

The Chicago horse racing magazine and preview show Horsin' Around TV begins its third season on Saturday. The show, hosted and produced by Joe Kristufek, has moved from Fox Sports to Comcast SportsNet for 2005, and usually airs three times every Saturday, at 1 a.m., 6 a.m., and 10:30 a.m.

Horsin' Around TV also can be seen Saturday mornings at 11:30 at Illinois racetracks and simulcast centers, and at www.youbet.com.