Meteor Storm, winner of last year's Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park but on the sidelines for the past eight months, could return for trainer Wally Dollase in Saturday's Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park.Having ridden him in his last five races – and none at less than 10 furlongs – Jose Valdivia Jr. says he's not deterred by the distance or Meteor Storm's layoff since placing seventh as the favorite in the United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park July 3.
"I'm very confident every time I climb aboard Meteor Storm," the 30-year-old jockey said. "Mr. Dollase's done a great job picking his spots, although he told me this probably is not the ideal prep. But we've got to start somewhere. This horse has won going a mile before although it hasn't been in ages and this time he'll have to do it against grade I company. But like he said, he's got to start somewhere.
"I worked him Friday at Hollywood and he worked unbelievable. I'm just looking forward to him making it back to the races."Meteor Storm last won at a mile on March 9, 2003 in an allowance race at Santa Anita. He worked seven furlongs in 1:26 3/5 in his last drill.
Dollase's objective beyond the Kilroe is the $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 ½ miles on turf on March 27. Meteor Storm won last year's San Luis Rey, which he followed with victories in the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) April 18 and the Manhattan on June 6.Meteor Storm, a 6-year-old English-bred son of Bigstone, has a 6-3-3 record from 15 starts with earnings of $645,884 for the Horizon Stable.Meteor Storm, who was weighted at 118, is likely to face Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Singletary, who is also scheduled for his 2005 debut in the Kilroe.
Singletary, who was assigned top weight of 121 for the Kilroe, worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park Saturday in a bullet 1:25 2/5 for trainer Don Chatlos.