12/31/2002 1:00AM

Typhoon Alex looks like a classic


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Rick Violette had more to celebrate last Saturday than Man From Wicklow's one-length victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder.

Exactly 2 1/2 hours before that race, Violette watched via simulcast as Typhoon Alex romped to a 6 1/4-length victory in his debut at Aqueduct. Typhoon Alex, a son of Unbridled out of a Storm Cat mare, covered 1 1/16 miles in a respectable 1:44.47 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 86. More importantly, he earned a trip to south Florida where Violette will give him a chance to prove he's a horse for the spring classics.

"He's a serious, serious horse," Violette said from Florida. "We were excited about him all along. He's a little bit of a late developer. I was hoping he could win first time out and bring him down here. He's the type of horse you wake up in the morning and think about."

Ralph Evans and Lewis Rapaport purchased Typhoon Alex for $225,000 out of the Keeneland 2-year-old in training sales in April. According to Violette, Typhoon Alex got loose shortly after the sale and cut himself up pretty seriously.

"He needed the summer to recover from that, but he's been straight forward ever since," Violette said. "It's great we got his maiden out of the way and around two turns. We'll get him down here for a month or so, let him get acclimated and let him take us where we're going. If he brings us to the Derby, great. He's still a bit green, but he's got the talent to get it done."

Violette said Typhoon Alex would probably ship to the Boynton Beach, Fla., training center by the end of this week.

Grey Comet heads Count Fleet

Grey Comet, an undefeated New York-bred colt, will head a field of six or seven 3-year-olds expected to run in Saturday's $75,000 Count Fleet Stakes at a mile and 70 yards.

A son of Distinctive Pro, Grey Comet is 3 for 3 against New York-breds. That includes a successful stretch-out to 1 1/16 miles in the Damon Runyon Stakes, when he beat stablemate Unswept on Dec. 15. Trainer Gary Contessa is unfazed about running him back in 20 days.

"I think Grey Comet has rebounded well and is training great," Contessa said. "He worked five-eighths in [1:02.45 on Sunday] and he went the first three-eighths in 39 and he came home in 23 and change. I think he's as good as he can be for this race."

Tuesday, at Belmont, several Count Fleet hopefuls put in breezes over the training track. Mustang Jock, a son of Wild Again who won his maiden in his first try over the inner oval, went four furlongs in 50.63 seconds for trainer Ken McPeek.

Heavenly Kevin, a son of Banker's Gold who has a win and a second since trainer Bob Barbara added blinkers, went a half-mile in 50.63 seconds.

Others expected to run are Formidable Fox, and possibly Gimmeawink, Midnight Charlie, and Stong.

One horse not running in the Count Fleet is Unforgettable Max, who on Tuesday worked a half-mile in 47.93 seconds, the fastest of 96 moves over Belmont's training track. Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. said the horse needed more time to recover from a tougher-than-anticipated allowance win on Dec. 15.

Perkins said his goal with Unforgettable Max is the $200,000 Gotham on March 16, with one or two starts before then.

Slight edge to My Request

His affinity for a wet track, the inner track, and a cutback to his preferred distance gives My Request a slight edge in a tough $56,000 classified allowance race that tops Thursday's nine-race card. The race serves as a prep for the $100,000 Aqueduct Handicap to be run on Jan. 18.

My Request, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., came off a 79-day layoff to dead-heat for second with Durmiente behind Coyote Lakes in a 10-furlong allowance race over the inner track on Dec. 8. Coyote Lakes came back to win Saturday's Gallant Fox Handicap.

Thursday, My Request cuts back to 1 1/16 miles, a distance at which he has earned 6 of 8 career wins. My Request is 3 for 5 on a wet track, and rain is in the forecast for Thursday.

My Request, who is 3 for 9 over the inner track, will be coupled in the wagering with Quiet One, who should get a ground-saving trip from the rail under apprentice John McKee.

Bruce Levine sends out Resolve for the first time since claiming him for $100,000 on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita. Resolve is the one to catch, but may face some early pressure from Jarf.

Four Alert, Judge's Case, and Reef Chief complete the field.

- Beginning Thursday and continuing through March 9, Aqueduct will offer free grandstand admission and free general parking. Clubhouse admission remains $3. Aqueduct will also offer dark-day simulcasting on Mondays from Jan. 6 through March 3. During that period, dark-day simulcasts will also be offered on Wednesdays Jan. 22 and Feb. 19.