10/20/2004 11:00PM

Atlantic Frost peaking


CHICAGO - The Summertime Promise Stakes might have been slotted in the wrong season, but the overnight grass stakes could be just the right spot for a rising horse like Atlantic Frost.

"A lot of these fillies just seem to do a lot better in the fall, and I really think she is," said trainer Mickey Goldfine.

Atlantic Frost is only an entry-level allowance winner, but her form turned around dramatically when she was switched to turf two starts and six weeks ago. She won a maiden race at Arlington by more than four lengths, and a first-level Hawthorne allowance by almost three, and that puts her in the thick of the battle Saturday at Hawthorne. Better still, Atlantic Frost has tactical speed, a major asset in a full field that will run 1 1/16 miles over a narrow grass course with fairly tight turns.

But there are plenty of other ways to go in the Summertime Promise, which has a field of 10 3-year-old fillies with two also eligibles. Three horses - Dancing Liebling, Code of Ethics, and Ms. Lydnonia - exit the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes. Since the outstanding filly Ticker Tape won the Pucker Up, and came back last weekend to win the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland, suffice it to say the trio takes a class drop.

Still, none of them will scare anyone out of the Summertime Promise, since Ms. Lydonia has only won a second-level Illinois-bred race, and Code of Ethics an entry-level allowance. Dancing Liebling, in fact, remains eligible for a first-level allowance race.

Atlantic Frost starts looking better and better. She was 15-1 in her surprisingly sharp maiden score, but 6-5 when she won easily over this course Oct. 7.

"She came out of that race good, and I think she deserves a shot in a race like this," said Goldfine, who trains Atlantic Frost for owner-breeder Arthur Appleton. "There's not much to her, and she used to get tired, but the grass has been easier on her."

Grass racing also unlocked the talent of the Illinois-bred Hug Me Hug Me, who impressively won a statebred second-level allowance here Oct. 13.

"I was surprised when she lost the first couple times on dirt, because she'd trained so well," said Hug Me Hug Me's trainer, Brian Williamson. "I said, 'Man, I can't be that wrong about her.' She finally found it when we got her on turf."

Hug Me Hug Me trampled the opposition 10 days ago, showing sharp acceleration, and there is pace Saturday to set up her late kick.