05/02/2003 11:00PM

Tomillo old-timer finds spot


STICKNEY, Ill. - At 8, Sir Shimmy is old for a racehorse, though in the barn of trainer Tom Tomillo, he merely qualifies as middle-aged. Shed Some Light, trained by Tomillo at the time, won a bottom-level claiming race last week at age 11. Three years younger, Sir Shimmy has his sights on a bigger prize, namely Hawthorne's allowance feature on Monday.

Race 8 on this meet's penultimate program, Sir Shimmy's race is for second-level allowance horses at six furlongs. And only a surge to a performance level he had never previously attained has landed Sir Shimmy in this spot.

Sir Shimmy, a Louisiana-bred gelding, has spent his share of time in low-level claimers, and this winter in New Orleans he seemed bound for similar races again. In a starter allowance race Jan. 24 at Fair Grounds, Sir Shimmy turned an exceptionally dull performance, finishing last while looking ragged throughout his mile trip. But just two starts later, Sir Shimmy was back on his game, winning an $18,000 claimer here at Hawthorne by a neck, and two subsequent starts - both wins - have been even sharper.

So sharp, in fact, that Sir Shimmy is far from overmatched against open allowance company on Monday. A stalking sprinter, Sir Shimmy has made middle moves to reach contention on the far turn of his recent races before finishing off his rivals with a burst in midstretch. There are at least three speed horses entered in this spot - including Storm Chronicle, another Tomillo-trained horse - setting the race up for an off-the-pace type like Sir Shimmy.

If not Sir Shimmy, then Que Candy could take advantage of an intemperate pace. Que Candy, from the barn of Joseph "Spanky" Broussard, was bred in Argentina and made his first three starts there before being exported. With a frantic pace in front of him, Que Candy rallied to win his U.S. debut by a half-length at Fair Grounds. But in three starts since then, Que Candy hasn't had a setup quite as favorable. He did run on late in his final start at Fair Grounds, finishing third in a field comparable to this one, and with two local works could be set for another winning effort.