06/29/2003 11:00PM

Frankel's barn going sky-high


ELMONT, N.Y. - Bobby Frankel is sailing in smooth waters these days. When the newest addition to his stable, Spoken Fur, upset Saturday's $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, it was Frankel's 30th graded stakes victory of the year and his 12th in the Grade 1 category, with half the season still to come. The stable earnings have passed the $8.7 mark.

D. Wayne Lukas's record of $17,842,358 in purses won, set in 1988, and his mark of 92 stakes won during the 1987 season are both formidable achievements. But the way Frankel's horses are performing, no record seems safe.

Spoken Fur, a daughter of Notebook, failed to win her maiden last season in four attempts but showed good form this spring in three consecutive victories. Her people sent her to Frankel three weeks ago with an option to buy. He liked what he saw almost immediately and arranged her sale to John Amerman, the retired Mattel executive who has raced some good horses with him.

Roar Emotion set the pace in the nine-furlong Mother Goose with the favored Yell in persistent traffic on the inside and Spoken Fur biding her time under Jerry Bailey. Spoken Fur accelerated on the turn, opened a commanding lead, and cantered home a winner by more than five lengths. ell also finished strongly but lost her chance with an eventful trip.

"I thought Spoken Fur ran well," Frankel commented. "We're thinking now of the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 19. I hope she can stay the mile and a half. I also wonder how many of the others will get the trip."

Bailey, who is also enjoying another outstanding season, said he was impressed with the quality of Spoken Fur's acceleration in the Mother Goose. He noted that she relaxed for him down the backstretch, an indication that the distance of the CCA Oaks is within her scope.

Heckel rebounds for Pletcher

Todd Pletcher is another trainer off to a sparkling start in 2003. Heckel, a Hennessy colt owned by Dogwood Stable who won his maiden race by more than 12 lengths, repudiated his awkward showing in the Three Chimneys Stakes at Churchill Downs last month and won the $100,000 Tremont Stakes for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park by more than three lengths. John Velazquez rode Heckel, who has won 2 of 3 starts. He was purchased as a yearling at Keeneland for $90,000.

Dogwood Stable also owns Limehouse, a Grand Slam colt who won both his starts. Limehouse finished strongly too win the Three Chimneys at Churchill Downs ridden by Robby Albarado, Limehouse was purchased as a yearling for $140,000. He too may make his next start in the Sanford at Saratoga.

Pletcher's third 2-year-old stakes-winner of the campaign is Chapel Royal, a Montbrook colt who won both his starts including the Flash stakes here at Belmont Park. Chapel Royal may be seen next in the Saratoga Special. He's owned by Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.