11/20/2004 1:00AM

Dreadnaught leaps to Grade 2 victory

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Dreadnaught (4), Jean-Luc Samyn up, noses out Certifiably Crazy at the wire in the Red Smith Handicap.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Dreadnaught, a former jumper, collared the pacesetting Certifiably Crazy to win the Grade 2, $150,000 by a nose Saturday at Aqueduct.

Dreadnaught ($13.20) ran the 1 3/8 miles over good turf on a drizzly afternoon in 2:18.87 in the final grass stakes of the year in New York.

It was the first graded stakes victory for the 4-year-old gelding Dreadnaught, whom trainer Tom Voss called "a big, dumb, unathletic horse" until he made three runs over hurdles this spring.

"It really helped this horse," said Voss. "It was kind of like dancing lessons for a person. It got him coordinated. He's been a good horse ever since."

Dreadnaught showed steady progress when put back on the flat, especially in his last two starts, which came at the Red Smith distance. He won an allowance race at Belmont Park and followed that with a second, beaten only a neck, last time out at The Meadowlands in the John Henry Stakes.

Voss took the blinkers off following the John Henry.

"He's been getting better and better all fall," said Voss. "Today he eyeballed that horse all the way and that made the difference. With the blinkers on, he might have caught him and started loafing a little bit."

Dreadnaught was all business in the stretch after a shaky few minutes prior to the start. He reared in the gate, flipping off jockey Jean-Luc Samyn.

When the latch sprung, Dreadnaught rated fifth on the outside as Certifiably Crazy set a crawling pace on the damp course. Dreadnaught ranged into contention with a four-wide sweep on the final turn and wore down Certifiably Crazy at the end of a long drive.

Alost finished third.

Evening Attire, the 2002 winner of the off-the-turf Red Smith, was the 5-2 favorite but never got involved, finishing eighth.

* Storm Minstrel ($11.80) beat Then She Laughs by a nose to win the $60,000 Safely Kept Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Storm Minstrel, ridden by Pablo Fragoso and trained by Mark Hennig, ran the six furlongs over the fast track in 1:11.13.

* Jockey Jamie Spencer was kicked in the chest by a horse before the fourth race and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.