11/27/2002 1:00AM

No welcome wagon for Frankel

Email

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - When Bobby Frankel shipped his stable back to California following the end of the Belmont fall meet, there were few tears shed by New York-based horsemen.

Needless to say, there was no welcome wagon awaiting Frankel at Aqueduct when he returned to New York from California with four strong contenders for this weekend's quartet of graded stakes at Aqueduct.

Frankel is already the leading stakes trainer in New York with 14 wins. With a record of 28-17-10 from 94 starters, Frankel's runners have earned $5,011,821 in New York. He trails only Todd Pletcher, who leads all trainers in New York with earnings of $5,070,603.

Frankel will have a chance to add to both totals on Friday when he sends out Sightseek in the $150,000 Top Flight Handicap, and on Saturday when he saddles Aldebaran in the $350,000 Cigar Mile, Empire Maker in the $200,000 Remsen, and Summer Scene in the $200,000 Demoiselle.

Should Frankel win them all, he would add $540,000 to his national earnings of $16,618,284. Frankel is chasing D. Wayne Lukas's single-year record of $17,842,358.

Frankel's runners figure to be among the favorites in all four stakes. Sightseek, a half-sister to Diana Handicap and Las Palmas winner Tates Creek, is 3 for 3 on dirt and is coming off an impressive victory in the Grade 3 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland. Sightseek, who will be ridden by Jerry Bailey, will get seven pounds from highweight and possible favorite Mandy's Gold.

Bailey, who is chasing two single-season records himself, will also be aboard both Empire Maker and Summer Scene for Frankel. Through Wednesday, Bailey had 62 stakes wins this year, four behind Mike Smith's record of 66. Also, Bailey's mounts have earned $22,195,189 putting him $662,531 behind the mark he set in 2001.

Empire Maker is already being talked about as a serious Kentucky Derby contender, despite having only a maiden win to his credit. A son of Unbridled, Empire Maker is a half-brother to three Grade 1 winners and has gone stride for stride in workouts with Grade 1 winners Medaglia d'Oro and Lido Palace.

Frankel purchased Summer Scene for Edmund Gann following her maiden win at Churchill Downs on Nov. 10. Summer Scene has to stretch out from 6 1/2 to nine furlongs and did miss some training while the sale was pending.

In the Cigar Mile, Aldebaran returns to dirt after an unsuccessful bid on turf in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Frankel said Aldebaran was running well in the Mile, but was behind Landseer when Landseer broke down in upper stretch.

"Throw it out," Frankel said. "Looking at the [running] line, you'd think he didn't run, but he ran well."

Frankel will head home after Saturday and probably won't be seen here again until spring. When approached in the racing office Wednesday with a winter condition book, Frankel politely declined.

Request for Parole returns Friday

Request for Parole, unraced since finishing fifth in the Kentucky Derby, makes his return to the races Friday in a $57,000 classified allowance race at one mile. He will break from post 6 in a field of nine.

Request for Parole developed into a Derby contender last winter winning races such as the WEBN Frog Stakes and John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park. Following a neck loss to Perfect Drift in the Lane's End Spiral Stakes, Request for Parole finished fifth in the Derby.

Request for Parole suffered a fractured cannon bone while getting ready for the Belmont Stakes.

Following his recovery, Request for Parole was turned over to trainer Stanley Hough by owner Sam Knighton. Stephen Margolis, a former assistant for Hough, had trained Request for Parole. Knighton moved the horse to Hough because Hough is going to Florida this winter and Margolis is not.

Request for Parole joined Hough's stable in August and shows six workouts since Oct. 19.

"He's got a knot on the cannon bone. Other than that you wouldn't know anything was wrong with him," Hough said. "I haven't pounded on him, but I think he's fit enough. I think he will run well, but it's just a place to get started."

Voodoo, the Carter Handicap runner-up who skipped Thursday's Fall Highweight, looms the horse to beat in the allowance race.

Vespers wins Memories of Silver

Vespers displayed an affinity for a muddy track on Wednesday, dragging John Velazquez into contention down the backstretch and exploding through the stretch for a 5 3/4-length victory in Wednesday's $66,100 Memories of Silver Stakes.

Shooting Party was part of the early pace and finished second, 6 1/2 lengths ahead of Cozzy Corner. La Cat, Kingsland, and Salt It Again completed the order of finish.

The Memories of Silver was originally carded for the turf, but became the ninth New York stakes scheduled for the turf that was moved to the main track.

After winning her maiden on dirt, Vespers made her next 11 starts on turf. Owned by Stuart Janney and trained by Shug McGaughey, Vespers covered the mile in 1:38.48 and returned $6.60.

Funny Cide finished for year

Funny Cide, the unbeaten New York-bred 2-year-old, will skip next weekend's Great State Juvenile at Sam Houston and will not race again this year.

Funny Cide had been fighting a lung infection since shortly after his victory in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 19. Following a five-furlong breeze last Saturday, trainer Barclay Tagg scoped Funny Cide and found the 2-year-old was full of mucous.

According to assistant trainer Robin Smullen, Funny Cide was treated with a very strong antibiotic. Funny Cide will ship to Florida in December and be pointed to the $100,000 Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park.

* Vespers victory in the Memories of Silver Stakes was worth $12,396 to Brian Vogler, who won Aqueduct's Fall SHOWdown contest. The online contest asks players to pick one horse to finish first, second, or third on an Aqueduct card each day. The contest cost $10 to enter and Vogler, a 30-year-old Syracuse resident, purchased 20 entries.

John Esterbook, of Hoboken, N.J., won $3,099 for finishing second. He purchased one entry.

* A tractor broke down on the clubhouse turn Wednesday, delaying the start of the second race by 12 minutes. The tractor had a broken axle and needed to be removed from the track by a front-end loader.