10/07/2002 11:00PM

Breen's got one who can run


ELMONT, N.Y. - Having worked as an assistant to trainer Ben Perkins Sr. for almost six years, Kelly Breen knows a thing or two about fast horses. Now, it appears Breen has one of his own in Southern Smoke, who will be put to the test in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Astarita Stakes for 2-year-old filliesat Belmont Park.

Southern Smoke, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Smoke Glacken, won her maiden at first asking on Sept. 13 at The Meadowlands, taking a five-furlong race by 5 1/2 lengths in a time of 58.82 seconds.

She arrived at Belmont Park last week and, on Sunday, Southern Smoke drilled four furlongs in 47.90 seconds over the main track, the fastest of 70 moves at the distance.

"I put her in a class with a Ben Perkins Sr. horse," said Breen, who worked with Perkins when he had fast sprinters Forest Wildcat, Meadow Monster, and Confide. "She's very rapid, has a nice way of going, and has a nice disposition. I haven't had a horse who's shown this much ability this soon in her career."

Breen, 33, went out on his own fulltime in 1999 following Perkins's retirement. In his career, Breen has won 72 races from 581 starters. His only stakes win came in last year's $60,000 Jameela Stakes at Pimlico with a filly named Gigi's Magic.

In addition to learning about fast horses, Breen learned something else from Perkins. If the price is right, sell. Breen said he has had several people looking at Southern Smoke, and if the right deal comes along he and owner Anthony Venditti will make it even it means not running her this Sunday.

"Ben told me do what you got to do to keep the business going," Breen said. "If we were to sell, we'd buy more horses. It's not like we'd be going to Tahiti."

The Astarita, run at 6 1/2 furlongs, is coming up a pretty solid race, led by the Ben Perkins Jr.-trained Wild Snitch, winner of the Grade 3 Sorority and runner-up in the Grade 1 Matron. Other stakes winners pointing to the race are Big Score, Chimichurri, and Humorous Lady. Impressive maiden winners Harford Ghost and Fast Cookie as well as Cyber Secret and Reheat are also expected.

On Tuesday, Fast Cookie worked four furlongs in 47.02 seconds, the fastest of 44 moves at the distance.

Medaglia d'Oro works impressively

In his sharpest move since winning the Travers, Medaglia d'Oro drilled six furlongs in 1:13.02 under jockey Aaron Gryder in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Belmont clockers timed Medaglia d'Oro in fractional splits of 12.84 seconds, 25.72, 49.87, and 1:01.56. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.91.

"I've worked him four times, but today was the most impressive he's worked," said Gryder, who will not ride Medaglia d'Oro in the Classic. "Today, he warmed up great and really acted like he wanted to get into it."

Frankel was very pleased with the move and said he's glad he didn't run him in any of the traditional Breeders' Cup preps. Medaglia d'Oro will enter the Classic off a nine-week layoff.

"I didn't want to take the run out of him," Frankel said. "He's ready."

Frankel said Medaglia d'Oro would have two more workouts before leaving for Arlington Park on Oct. 21 with the rest of his contingent. That includes Milwaukee Brew, who worked four furlongs Tuesday in 47.54 seconds, the second-fastest of 44 works at the distance.

"I'm going to throw that last race out," Frankel said, referring to Milwaukee Brew's sixth-place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. "He just didn't handle the track."

Milwaukee Brew worked in company with Lido Palace, who was timed in 47.85 seconds. Lido Palace will run next in the $400,000 Clark Handicap on Nov. 29 at Churchill Downs.

Chiselling is Realization highweight

Chiselling will concede two pounds to Finality when they face off again in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Lawrence Realization Handicap for 3-year-olds at 12 furlongs on turf.

Chiselling was assigned 120 pounds to 118 for Finality. In July, Chiselling defeated Finality by a nose in the Lexington Stakes. Last month, Finality, in receipt of five pounds from Chiselling, turned the tables on him with a 3 1/4-length victory in the Jamaica Handicap.

Frankel, the trainer of Chiselling, believes the 1 1/2 miles of the Lawrence Realization will play in his colt's favor.