Updated on 09/17/2011 11:54AM

Aldebaran back on top

Aldebaran ($3.90) wins the Tom Fool Stakes at Belmont Park on Friday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Aldebaran returned to one turn, and took a turn for the better. The poster boy for late-running sprinters was back at his best distance, and his favorite track, for Friday's $150,000 at Belmont Park. He did not disappoint.

Sent off as the odds-on favorite, Aldebaran unleashed his strong closing kick to rally from last to first, then had plenty left to stave off a late challenge from Peeping Tom to win the Grade 2, seven-furlong race on a hot, humid afternoon.

Aldebaran has never finished worse than second in dirt sprints around one turn. His biggest victory this year came in Belmont's Metropolitan Handicap on May 26, a performance that emboldened trainer Bobby Frankel to give Aldebaran another try around two turns in last month's Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Aldebaran was a well-beaten third in that 1 1/8-mile race, so it was back to a sprint, and Belmont Park, for his fifth start in a little more than 2 1/2 months - an uncharacteristically aggressive campaign for a Frankel trainee.

"I don't think he was at his best today," Frankel said. "I might have run him back a little quick."

Aldebaran, as is his custom, dropped back to last in the seven-horse field while the longshot Voodoo carved out aggressive fractions of 22.44 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.83 for the half.

Aldebaran began to roll on the turn. His jockey, Jerry Bailey, chose to knife between horses at the five-sixteenths pole, then split a second pair of horses a quarter-mile later. Aldebaran came through both holes smoothly and built a lead that Peeping Tom could only nibble at in the final furlong. He won by two lengths.

"He's obviously a good horse around one turn," Frankel said. "We tried the Stephen Foster last time because he was so sharp, but it didn't work. I was a little concerned about him coming back too soon, but now he'll get two months off."

Frankel said Aldebaran would be pointed to the Forego Handicap, a seven-furlong, Grade 1 race at Saratoga on Aug. 31.

State City finished third, 2 1/2 lengths behind Peeping Tom. Najran, Voodoo, Northern Rock, and Vodka completed the finish, in that order.

Aldebaran ($3.90) completed the Tom Fool's seven furlongs in 1:22.54 for his seventh victory in 23 lifetime starts. He has finished first or second 19 times and has never been worse than second in four starts at Belmont. The 5-year-old son of Mr. Prospector, out of the Private Account mare Chimes of Freedom, was bred and is owned by the Niarchos family's Flaxman Holdings Ltd.