09/23/2006 12:00AM

Karen's Caper up in time


ELMONT, N.Y. - Karen's Caper ended a 17-month drought while keeping trainer Bobby Frankel red-hot at this meet with a three-quarter-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $155,366 at Belmont Park.

Pommes Frites, who got loose on the lead under Jose Santos, had to settle for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of European shipper Mauralakana.

It was the first North American stakes win for Karen's Caper, who had not won since taking the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket in April 2005.

In two starts this year, Karen's Caper threw a shoe when fourth in an allowance race, and finished second to My Typhoon in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga. Frankel and jockey Edgar Prado said they thought she was compromised by a slow pace that day and decided to put Karen's Caper into the bridle a little more in this race.

Prado had Karen's Caper in fifth position and waited until upper stretch to make his move. When Prado asked Karen's Caper turning for home, she unleashed a strong turn of foot to run down Pommes Frites 50 yards from the wire. Karen's Caper, owned by Stonerside Stable, covered one mile in 1:34.91 over firm turf and returned $5.80 to win.

"Today I put her into the bridle a little bit and was just biding my time,'' Prado said. "I know what kind of kick she has and when I asked her she stepped up.''

Frankel, who also won an allowance race on the card with Saint Anddan, is now 8 for 17 at the Belmont fall meet. Frankel said Karen's Caper would most likely make her next two starts in the $400,000 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 14 and the $500,000 Matriarch at Hollywood Park on Nov. 26.