11/10/2005 12:00AM

'Thunder' seems the better speed


NEW YORK - The focus of racing in the coming months will switch to tracks in warmer climes. One of the first signs of this annual shift comes Saturday, when Calder Race Course presents Florida Million Day, a program including eight stakes events for Florida-breds worth $1.2 million, topped by the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic and the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap.

Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap

This is another stakes on the Florida Million card, and it is a great spot for Apalachian Thunder to boss his competition.

There are a few reasons why Apalachian Thunder is such an appealing prospect here. For one, he has certainly taken to Calder since moving into trainer Bill White's barn in late summer. He cruised to a decisive victory in a small stakes at this six-furlong distance two starts back in his first appearance at Calder, and last time out, he nearly pulled off a front-running upset in the Spend a Buck Handicap despite going a 1 1/16-mile distance that is beyond his best trip. But what makes Apalachian Thunder look particularly strong in this spot is that for a sprint stakes this event does not have a lot of early speed. The only other true speed horse in this race beside Apalachian Thunder is Scrubs, who seems overmatched and who also is at his best at distances even shorter than this. Apalachian Thunder can stalk Scrubs down the backstretch, then break this race open on the far turn.

One to use here in exotic wagers is Mister Fotis. After being off form all summer, Mister Fotis turned in a much-improved fourth last time out, suggesting he may be ready to approach the sharp form he held very early this year, when he was second in the Deputy Minister Handicap.

Carl G. Rose Classic Handicap

As noted above, Apalachian Thunder was going a distance beyond his best in the Spend a Buck, and his attempt at a gate-to-wire upset only failed when he ran out of gas late. This point pertains to this race because Supervisor and B. B. Best are prominent players here off their first- and second-place finishes in the Spend a Buck. But because the Spend a Buck was one of those races that fell apart late, Supervisor and B. B. Best might not have run as well as it may appear on paper, and that makes them vulnerable.

I like Dazzling Dr. Cevin to notch his third straight win. It is true that he capitalized on an off-the-turf situation when he got up in the Calder Derby last time out, but he still ran well. He earned a solid Beyer Speed Figure of 105, a career best, and the rest of the field was badly strung out behind the runner-up. Moreover, despite being a relatively heavily raced 3-year-old, Dazzling Dr. Cevin left the strong impression that he has only just found himself, and has more room for improvement.

Mrs. Revere Stakes

Manila Fudge is sure to set sail for the early lead, but My Typhoon has to send from her outside post position, and Flying Circle has dirt-sprint speed. All of this suggests that the pace in the Mrs. Revere should be demanding, and that Isla Cozzene should fall into a perfect stalking trip. For that reason, she is the bet.

If Isla Cozzene does get a nice trip as projected, she is good enough to cash in on it. In June, she was a close third in the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap despite a huge class jump from her maiden win, and in August, she was second to subsequent Del Mar Oaks winner Singhalese. And while Isla Cozzene didn't beat a lot winning the Hawthorne Oaks most recently, it was a decisive score at this distance, and it should be a big confidence-booster that could carry her to a repeat score at a square price.


Calder: Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap
3 and up, Florida-breds, 6 furlongs

Approximate post: Eastern-3:52 p.m., Central-2:52 p.m., Mountain-1:52 p.m., Pacific-12:52 p.m.; Miami, Fl., forecast: Breezy, 81¦

1Santana Strings82761007-2
2Mister Fotis94266710-1
4Swift Replica86749312-1
6Apalachian Thunder9195816-1
7Cin Cin9890833-1
9Built Up66863215-1
10Wire Bound85899920-1

Track morning line odds

Churchill Downs: Mrs. Revere Stakes
Fillies, 3-years-old, 1 1/16 miles, turf

Approximate post: E-4:37 p.m., C-3:37 p.m., M-2:37 p.m., P-1:37 p.m.; Louisville, Ky., forecast: Sunny, 69¦

1Elle Runaway90668812-1
2Manila Fudge89746915-1
3Isla Cozzene9286863-1
4Be Envied85755712-1
5Silver Cup8989n/a4-1
7Winning Season67759730-1
8Flying Circle96837115-1
9My Typhoon90941008-5

Track morning line odds

Calder: Carl G. Rose Classic Handicap
3 and up, Florida-breds, 1 1/8 miles

Approximate post: E-4:48 p.m., C-3:48 p.m., M-2:48 p.m., P-1:48 p.m.; Miami, Fl., forecast: Breezy, 81¦

2Hear No Evil91917015-1
3B. B. Best9389963-1
4Dazzling Dr. Cevin10595869-2
5Summer Book9793895-1
6Dream On Dream On105938012-1
8Whos Crying Now9197698-1
10Bob's Proud Moment94979315-1

Track morning line odds