05/01/2002 11:00PM

Will 13 be lucky for Nasty Storm?


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Their affinity for Churchill Downs and their tactical speed may give Gold Mover and Nasty Storm an edge Saturday in a competitive running of the $200,000 Humana Distaff, which has been elevated to a Grade 1 for the first time.

A field of 13 was entered for the seven-furlong race, but four horses had been cross-entered in other stakes, including two that were entered in Thursday's Mamzelle Stakes on turf.

As a 2-year-old, Gold Mover won two stakes at Churchill, including a victory against males in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup Handicap. Overall, Gold Mover is 2-0-1 in three starts here.

"When you look at her record at Churchill Downs it speaks for itself,'' trainer Mark Hennig said. "She's been training tremendous since she got there, she's very sharp. She acts like she's happy to be home.''

Gold Mover has won two of her last three starts, and Hennig said she showed an electrolyte imbalance the day she finished fourth behind Xtra Heat in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel.

John Velazquez rides Gold Mover from post 9.

Nasty Storm, who is 3 for 7 at Churchill, including two graded stakes tries in her last two starts here, figures to go off a slight favorite. She will break from post 13 under Pat Day, who has won six of the 15 runnings of the Humana Distaff.

Trainer Dallas Stewart would love to see some scratches, so his filly doesn't have to break so far outside.

"I'm not crazy about the draw, but she'll just have to overcome it,'' Stewart said. "She's got tactical speed. Pat Day knows her, she knows what she's capable of.''

Nasty Storm is making just her second start of the year after finishing fifth to Victory Ride in the Madison Stakes at Keeneland. She had ended her 3-year-old season with three consecutive victories.

Stewart will also send out Sweet Nanette, who has made only one start since finishing second in the La Troienne here last May 3. She suffered a hind pastern injury in that race, and needed surgery. She finished second in the Victoria Lass Handicap at Fair Grounds in March, and does get the services of Chris McCarron.

Hattiesburg, trained by Tom Amoss, is 2 for 2 at Churchill, with both wins coming in allowance races. Hattiesburg will have to return to the form she showed last spring when she reeled off four consecutive victories to have an upset chance here.