03/05/2004 1:00AM

Deputy Storm to Gotham

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Deputy Storm, the runner-up in the Hutcheson Stakes, will make his next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 20, according to his trainer, Todd Pletcher.

In his first race since August, Deputy Storm finished second to his stablemate, Limehouse, in the Grade 2 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 14. Deputy Storm set wickedly fast fractions of 21.68 seconds for the first quarter, 43.73 for the half-mile, and 1:08.96 for six furlongs. He was passed by Limehouse in the final sixteenth of the seven-furlong race and was beaten 2 1/4 lengths.

Pletcher was pleased with Deputy Storm's effort in the Hutcheson and believes the one-mile Gotham is a logical spot for the son of Foresty.

"He ran very well off a layoff, and the fractions were very fast," he said. "The key to him is he has an enormous amount of speed. We took the blinkers off for his last race and that helped a lot, but we still need to idle him down a touch more. We thought the Gotham was the right kind of scenario to see where we fit with him."

Deputy Storm, owned by James Spence, won his maiden in his second start at Belmont Park on June 20. Four weeks later, he won the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth Park by four lengths. After Deputy Storm finished second in the Grade 3 Sapling at Monmouth on Aug. 9, a small chip in his ankle was discovered and surgically removed.

Pletcher said he hadn't decided on a rider for Deputy Storm in the Gotham. Jerry Bailey, aboard the colt in the Hutcheson, is scheduled to ride Birdstone in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park the same day.

Smok'n Frolic heads for Next Move

Pletcher also reported that Smok'n Frolic will defend her title in next Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Next Move Handicap at Aqueduct.

A 5-year-old, Smok'n Frolic bombed as the favorite in her last start, finishing seventh in the Grade 3 Sabin Handicap at Gulfstream on Feb. 15. Pletcher said the mare, who occasionally throws a temper tantrum, was at her worst that day.

"She didn't behave all the way around," Pletcher said. "She got worked up in the paddock and behind the gate, but this was the first time she did something during the course of a race. Halfway into the first turn, she got into tight quarters and wiped out the field. It was over at that point."

Richard Migliore will ride Smok'n Frolic, who will arrive from Florida on Thursday.

Smok'n Frolic, who has $1.3 million in earnings, will head a field that is expected to include Austin's Mom, the winner of the Grade 3 Affectionately and Rare Treat handicaps in her last two starts. Others being pointed to the 1 1/8-mile Next Move are Biogio's Beauty, Stake, and U K Trick.

Quick Action also a Gotham probable

Quick Action, who won the Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes here in January, is likely to make his next start in the Gotham, according to Peter Hutton, trainer D. Wayne Lukas's assistant.

Quick Action worked a bullet five furlongs in 58.82 seconds at Belmont Park last Saturday.

"A horse broke off in front of him, so it was a little quicker than we wanted, but he did it easily," Hutton said.

In his last start, Quick Action finished third as the favorite in the Whirlaway Stakes in his two-turn debut on Feb. 7. Hutton thought Quick Action, who lost the race by three lengths to Little Matth Man, had an excuse.

"I think he was unlucky," Hutton said. "I think if we had an outside post, it would have been a different result. He was forced to go with the only speed."

Max Forever in feature finale

The 50-day inner-track meet comes to a close Sunday with a nine-race card. The feature, a $48,000 third-level allowance race for older males, drew six runners.

Max Forever, a graded stakes winner, should be ready for a winning effort after finishing third in his 4-year-old debut on Feb. 4. Max Forever lacked running room for much of the race and was beaten less than two lengths in his first start since finishing last in the Pennsylvania Derby in September. A year ago, Max Forever won a maiden race over the inner track by 6 3/4 lengths over a next-out winner.

A win here by Max Forever would end the meet on a good note for the colt's trainer, Ben Perkins Jr., who is 0 for 26 heading into Sunday's card.

Mike Luzzi rides Max Forever, who worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.18 on Monday.

Toboggan hopefuls work at Belmont

On Friday, Black Silk and Kazoo, scheduled to run in next Saturday's $75,000 Toboggan Handicap, worked over Belmont's training track.

Black Silk worked four furlongs in 47.88 seconds and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00. Kazoo covered the same distance in 49.65.

* Apprentice Edwin Perez was suspended three racing days - March 7, 10, and 11 - for careless riding in Wednesday's eighth race. Apprentice Catalino Martinez was suspended the same three days for careless riding in Thursday's fifth race.

* When the main track opens Wednesday, post time for the first race will switch to 1 p.m. Eastern.