10/26/2001 12:00AM

Mott's filly strong tempation


ELMONT, N.Y. - Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has yet to gain recognition for his work with 2-year-olds. That should soon change.

Since the start of the Saratoga meeting, Mott has won 13 2-year-old races in New York with 11 runners, including Listen Here, who won Friday's Grade 3 Nashua Stakes. Mott will go for a sweep of the weekend's Grade 3 events for 2-year-olds when he sends out Saintly Action in Sunday's $100,000 Tempted Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Tempted, for juvenile fillies, and the ungraded $125,000 Nassau County Handicap highlight a nine-race card on closing day of Belmont's fall meeting. With daylight-saving time beginning, first post has been moved up to 12:30 p.m. Racing on this circuit switches to Aqueduct beginning Wednesday.

Saintly Action, a daughter of Saint Ballado, is the only member of the nine-horse field to have won at the Tempted distance of a mile. In her last start, Saintly Action won a maiden race by eight lengths, covering the distance in 1:38.18.

In her previous start, a seven-furlong race at Saratoga, Saintly Action finished second, 10 1/2 lengths behind Imperial Gesture, who was scheduled to run in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. In that race, Saintly Action broke slowly, bumped with another horse and checked back to last.

"She gave up too much ground," Mott said. "She gave up about as much ground as she got beat." Discussing, Saintly Action's last race, Mott said, "I guess she showed she could get a mile with the company she was with."

Jerry Bailey rides Saintly Action from post 3.

The company in the Tempted will be markedly tougher with the likes of multiple winners Cherokee Girl, Balmy, Short Note, Smok'n Frolic, and Wopping in the field.

Wopping, a daughter of Prenup, has won two straight races at Belmont after running poorly in two starts at Saratoga. Trainer Mark Hennig said Wopping did not care for the Saratoga surface. In her last start, she dueled with the Mott-trained Slew's Final Answer for the length of the stretch before winning a head bob. Richard Migliore has the return call from post 8.

"I thought she was a nice filly. Other than her two races at Saratoga, she hasn't run a bad race," Hennig said. "When she works, she gallops out pretty strongly and acts like she'll go further."

The return to Belmont Park may help Smok'n Frolic, who won her maiden and took the Fashion Stakes over this track in the spring. She comes off a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Alcibiades at Keeneland where she was five wide on a track that favors inside speed. John Velazquez rides from post 7.

Pieceofperfection and Rhythm Down Below complete the field.