11/05/2002 1:00AM

Tomillo horse has the speed


CHICAGO - Trainer Tom Tomillo still is recovering from multiple bypass heart surgery late last month, but Tomillo's vast public stable can't take a break. His barn has four horses entered on Hawthorne's Thursday program, including two in the featured seventh race.

Tomillo has been a major influence the last several years on the Chicago claiming circuit, and the high end of his barn has moved upward the last couple seasons. He still has his share of bottom-level claiming stock, but now there is room for horses such as Hot Weather, who may be the horse to beat in the featured seventh, a second-level allowance at six furlongs.

Hot Weather came to Tomillo's stable from Southern California, where he was claimed for $25,000 in late August.

Hot Weather was bet early and often in his Chicago debut, and at 2-1 he was an easy winner of a first-level allowance Oct. 11 at Arlington, racing 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.40, a fast time for that racing surface. Tomillo brought Hot Weather back just 13 days later in a second-level allowance, and after contesting a fast pace at 6 1/2 furlongs, Hot Weather was empty late. He faded to fifth, but was beaten less than two lengths in another solid performance.

Tomillo's other horse in the seventh race, Forever Amber, also has speed, but you wouldn't expect to see stablemates undo each other in a pace battle. Still, there is plenty of speed in this race. Lindt, slightly overmatched on form, also must show speed from the rail, while the horse to his outside, Bellicosity, is a habitual front-runner.

Major contender Kool Kool will not be far from the front, either. Dropped into a tough $40,000 claimer in his last start, Kool Kool came out of the race with a hard-fought win and new connections. Claimed from trainer Wayne Catalano, Kool Kool now resides in the Lynn Whiting stable, and Whiting may have found a horse capable of knocking out this allowance condition right away.

The pace overload doesn't necessarily mean the race sets up for a closer. Hawthorne's main track was a bit biased toward speed on Saturday and especially speed-friendly during Sunday's card.

* Saturday is the biggest day of this meet, Illinois Day, with six stakes for statebred horses.

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