07/28/2002 11:00PM

Nunatall gives Frankel a no-angst winner


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - For any other trainer, Nunatall's hard-fought head victory over Guana in Monday's $115,000 Lake George Handicap at Saratoga would have been a heart stopper. But after Bobby Frankel sweated out tight photos to win Saturday's Test and Diana here Saturday, his filly Nunatall's first career stakes triumph was a relative laugher.

"At least this one I knew I won," quipped Frankel, who trains Nunatall for owner Edmund A. Gann.

Nunatall contested the early pace of the 1 1/16-mile Lake George with Smok'n Frolic, dropped back off the lead while bearing out a bit around the opening turn, re-engaged Smok'n Frolic midway down the backstretch, shook free at midstretch, and then was fully extended to withstand both Guana and Mariensky in the final strides.

Guana raced well placed behind the dueling leaders, angled out at midstretch, and finished willingly to just miss. Mariensky had to steady leaving the backstretch, worked her way through traffic on the turn, angled four wide while rallying into the stretch, and finished best of all in the final furlong.

Smok'n Frolic finished a tiring fourth, followed by Faraway Legend, Stylelistick, Pillow Talk, Hannie's Candy, Midnight Deelite, Magnificent Val, and Maita.

Nunatall paid $5.50. She covered the distance in 1:40.71 seconds under jockey Jorge Chavez.

"I was really proud of her," said Frankel. "Those were good fractions. I didn't expect Smok'n Frolic to go out with her. She has a tendency to get out around the first turn when she goes two turns. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's just because she's going too fast. The rest of the way she's fine. Once she gets around the second turn, she relaxes. I thought she was very game. She really impressed me today. She might be a lot better than I thought."

Frankel said he will give Nunatall some time before considering running her back again.

"Im not sure what they've got for 3-year-old fillies stakes here the rest of the meet," he said. "I like to space my races, especially with 3-year-old fillies. If I have to wait until Belmont, I will."