08/29/2006 11:00PM

Twilight Meteor more than just a hunch

Twilight Meteor (5) rallies after a slow start to win his racing debut by a neck on July 30.

is more than just a hunch play Friday at Saratoga. He could very well be the horse to beat in the $70,000 With Anticipation Stakes for 2-year-old colts at 1 1/16 miles over the Mellon Turf Course.

The With Anticipation is the featured event on a twilight racing card at Saratoga that begins at 3p.m. Post time for the nightcap is slated for 7:17 p.m.

Twilight Meteor, trained by Todd Pletcher, broke last and overcame a slow pace and a wide trip to rally for a neck victory in his debut on July 30. Pickapocket, who finished fifth that day, came back to win his maiden over this turf course in his next start and is back in this heat.

"He broke slow, which we knew he would do, because that's kind of been his history in the mornings," Pletcher said. "But sometimes that works to your advantage, especially in the first turn of these 2-year-old races.

"It's more about a smooth trip around the turn," Pletcher added. "He finished well. Hopefully, he'll break a little sharper, but I wouldn't expect him to fly out of there by any means."

Giant Chieftan figures to take money based on his debut. A son of Giant's Causeway, Giant Chieftan appeared well on his way to an open-length win when he veered out sharply under Javier Castellano in deep stretch. He ended up seventh, beaten four lengths.

Not surprisingly, trainer Stanley Hough is adding blinkers to Giant Chieftan's equipment Friday.

"When he got to the lead he started looking around," Hough said. "He was looking at anything, and Javier hit him a couple of times left-handed to get his attention. He saw the tracks where the gate was, and he veered out. I thought this race would have more talent than a maiden race, so it'll give him something to sit behind, and we don't have to worry about him galloping to the lead and start looking around."

Admiral Bird defeated New York-breds in his debut, but trainer Christophe Clement believes this son of Royal Academy is good enough to compete in open company. Admiral Bird will be getting Lasix for the first time.

Kon Krete Kid, who won the race Giant Chieftan was in, and Pickapocket look like the main speed horses in the field.

Trainer Mike Hushion is taking the blinkers off Fernando Po, who was very rank early yet still finished a close third to Kon Krete Kid in Giant Chieftan's debut.