12/27/2007 12:00AM

Thunder Mission looks best

EmailDelta Downs is serving up a stakes double Friday night. Both the $50,000 Lookout for 3-year-olds and up and the $50,000 Prime Rewards for fillies and mares are one-mile races restricted to horses who have never won a stakes.

Thunder Mission will be a strong favorite in the Lookout, while Game for More and the Larry Jones-trained shipper Beat the Band will start as top contenders in the Prime Rewards.

The conditions of the Lookout make the race a logical spot for Thunder Mission. In his last start, he was second in the $75,000 Sams Town, a seven-furlong race run around two turns at Delta on Dec. 7. Before that race, Thunder Mission was third by a neck in the $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap at six furlongs at Fair Grounds on Nov. 22.

Thunder Mission last ran a route distance six starts ago, and his trainer, Tom Amoss, said a mile is a better distance for him than six furlongs.

"I never thought he was really, truly a six-furlong horse," said Amoss, who trains Thunder Mission for Hannibel Hardy. "I put him at somewhere between six furlongs and a mile in terms of his best distance."

Thunder Mission's case in the Lookout is strengthened by the fact that he has a start at Delta this meet and has been facing strong company. His rivals in his last two starts have included multiple stakes winners Jonesboro, Watchem Smokey, and Stormin Baghdad. Thunder Mission also leads all Lookout starters in earnings with $312,524 and owns the field's highest last-race Beyer Speed Figure, a 98. The number is the same one he earned in the Thanksgiving.

"He's a real tryer," Amoss said. "He seems to show up every time you run him. Not all horses do that."

If there is a concern Friday, it is the post. Thunder Mission drew the rail in a field of nine for the Lookout.

"He has a tendency to get himself left, and the 1-hole is not the best post for him," Amoss said.

Gerard Melancon, who leads the standings at Delta, has the mount on Thunder Mission.

Game for More comes into the Prime Rewards off a strong runner-up finish in the $75,000 Treasure Chest, a seven-furlong race at Delta on Dec. 7. Game for More closed well to finish a neck back in what was her first start since July. She can move forward Friday and stands to get a decent pace setup due to the presence of front-runners Beat the Band and Elliecat.

Beat the Band is moving back to dirt after a fourth-place finish in the $100,000 George Rosenberger Memorial, a restricted turf stakes at Delaware Park on Sept. 8. She was stakes-placed earlier in the year.

Beat the Band figures to be forwardly placed under Gabriel Saez.

Elliecat used her speed to win a $65,000 optional claimer at Remington Park two starts ago on Sept. 28.

Kathleens Reel was third by a neck in the Treasure Chest.