11/09/2001 1:00AM

Union One lands in softer spot


JAMAICA, N.Y. - After running against the likes of Affirmed Success, Crash Course, and Forbidden Apple this year, Union One should find the company more to his liking Sunday when he runs in the $100,000 Cormorant Stakes at Aqueduct.

The Cormorant, for 3-year-olds and up on the turf at one mile, is one of four New York Stallion Series Stakes worth $100,000 to be conducted Sunday at Aqueduct. Fillies and mares contest the Perfect Arc at a mile on turf while 2-year-old colts run six furlongs in the Great White Way and juvenile fillies run the same distance in the Fifth Avenue. All races are restricted to progeny of New York-based stallions, but they don't necessarily have to be bred in the state.

A field of 14 was entered for the Cormorant, but only 12 will be permitted to run.

Union One, a son of Missionary Ridge, is a New York-bred and is 3 for 3 against statebred competition. Two of those wins came on the turf, albeit at nine furlongs. In two starts at a mile, Union One finished third, beaten three-quarters of a length by Affirmed Success in the Grade 3 Poker, and 4 1/2 lengths by Forbidden Apple in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap.

Union One, trained by Michael Dickinson, seems to prefer firm ground which he should get on Sunday. Richard Migliore, who has ridden Union One three times, will be reunited with the gelding, breaking from post 5.

Barnabus, a Virginia-bred son of Sea Salute who has a 3-1-0 record from five turf starts, will also represent Dickinson in the Cormorant. Barnabus has not been out since Aug. 21 when he won the Floor Show Handicap at Delaware Park. Harry Vega rides from post 8. Under the allowance conditions of the race, Barnabus is the starting highweight at 122 pounds.

Those seeking value may want to consider Ham Sandwich, sent out by Hall of Fame trainer Scotty Schulhofer. Although winless in his last seven starts, Ham Sandwich has run two solid races at Aqueduct and has run well at a mile. He was forced to steady entering the first turn of a second-level New York-bred allowance race on Oct. 3, but a repeat of his two races before that would make him competitive here. Javier Castellano rides from post 2.

Stogie Two is another who could offer value in the Cormorant. A son of Compliance, Stogie Two was only beaten two lengths when faced with a slow pace in a second-level state-bred allowance race last time out.

Doctor Cat and Tom's Thunder are longshots who could work their way into the trifecta.