02/19/2002 12:00AM

Whata Brainstorm in toughie


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Jim Picou passed Saturday's Grade 3 Canadian Turf Handicap, looking to find a softer spot to launch multiple graded stakes winner Whata Brainstorm's comeback. But he might find the competition just as tough when he runs Whata Brainstorm for the first time in 11 months in Thursday's $46,000 allowance feature over the Gulfstream Park turf course.

Whata Brainstorm is one of three graded winners in the field for Thursday's nine-furlong feature race, along with Honor Glide and Stokosky. Stakes winners Mr. Livingston and Punkin Head, recent allowance winner Serazzo, and the multiple stakes-placed Royal Romp round out the compact but competitive field.

"I was hoping to find an easy spot for him because I figure he might need a race the first time back, but it looks like this field may have come up as strong as the stakes," said Picou.

Whata Brainstorm won the Grade 2 Pan American Handicap here last winter and the Grade 3 Calder Derby as a 3-year-old. But a fractured sesamoid has kept him sidelined since he ran fourth in the Grade 2 Explosive Bid Handicap at the Fair Grounds last March.

"I believe he might be a little short the first time back but we've got to start somewhere," said Picou. "I've got him nominated to the Canadian Turf on Saturday and if it should rain and this race comes off the turf I'll go ahead and run him in the stakes."

Trainer Christophe Clement was also searching for something a bit easier to launch another campaign for Honor Glide, 8, who finished a disappointing 10 as the 5-2 favorite in Calder's W L McKnight Handicap on Dec. 29. The venerable Honor Glide faced allowance company only once in 2000, rallying to a half-length victory at Belmont Park on May 18.

Stokosky finished a troubled sixth in the Mac Diarmida Handicap here last month and turns back to perhaps a more suitable distance on Thursday. He seeks his first victory since upsetting Calder's Tropical Turf Handicap in December of 2000.

Mr. Livingston finished a tiring fifth in the roughly run Ft. Lauderdale Handicap on Jan. 26. He drops in against allowance competition for the first time since his 2-year-old campaign. He won back-to-back stakes at Calder last summer.

Serazzo outgamed Tubrok to win a high-priced optional claiming/allowance four weeks ago, and may be in the best form of anyone in the field.

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