08/03/2004 11:00PM

2nd string, 1st-rate

Smok'n Frolic will try to better her third-place finish in last year's Honorable Miss on Friday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Steve Asmussen is training Lady Tak up to the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap. His barn is so deep, however, that he still may have the horse to beat in Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 Honorable Miss, which serves as the prep for the Ballerina.

Asmussen, the nation's leading trainer in wins, sends out Savorthetime in the Honorable Miss, a six-furlong race that drew an extremely competitive nine-horse field.

Savorthetime was transferred from Albert Stall to Asmussen earlier this year. reeled off two wins at Lone Star Park before finishing second, beaten a half-length by Summer Mis, in the Saylorville Stakes at Prairie Meadows July 4. In her two allowance wins, Savorthetime came from off the pace. In the Saylorville, she dueled with the winner.

"That race at Prairie Meadows there just wasn't any speed in the race," said Scott Blasi, assistant to Asmussen. "I think she's more suited to [a stalking] style."

There appears to be plenty of other front-running types to keep Summer Mis honest in the Honorable Miss. Savorthetime is reunited with Shane Sellers, who gave her a perfect off-the-pace ride in the Valid Expectations two starts back.

dominated Illinois-bred company while carrying as much as 128 pounds in restricted stakes. She will only have to carry 115 pounds on Friday, prompting her trainer, Anthony Mitchell, to quip, "It will be like she's got nobody on her back."

Summer Mis, a daughter of Summer Squall, has won seven of her last nine starts. Her lone bad race came when she ran sixth in a stakes at Arlington Park. Mitchell said Summer Mis was found to have a cyst on an ovary after that race.

"We treated it accordingly and she came back to her old self and ran a real big race last time," said Mitchell, who first came to Saratoga in 1987 as an assistant to trainer Tom Skiffington. "We've always known how good she is. We've taken the right shots at the right time."

Though is more accomplished around two turns, she did finish third, beaten just a neck, in this race last year. Yell won the Grade 3 Run Raven Stakes at seven furlongs last spring and would benefit from a fast pace. Ebony Breeze comes off a minor stakes win at Philadelphia Park and will also like a hot pace.

Belong to Sea and Cologny would benefit if the track came up wet. My Trusty Cat, Travelator, and She Is Raging complete the field.