11/03/2004 12:00AM

Pace edge to Watchem Smokey


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The presence of speed in Friday's eighth race at Aqueduct could provide Watchem Smokey with the perfect setup to win the optional claimer.

Six sprinters were entered in the 6 1/2-furlong dirt race, which has a purse of $58,000. Mr. Whitestone and the Mark Shuman-trained entry of Spooky Mulder and Highway Prospector were entered to be claimed for $100,000. Only one of the Shuman horses will run, as Aaron Gryder was named on both horses.

Should he run, Spooky Mulder, who drew the rail, is the main speed. All Hail Stormy and Mighty David won't be far behind Spooky Mulder.

Watchem Smokey, trained by Bobby Frankel, is a come-from-behind sprinter. One of Watchem Smokey's best races took place at Belmont Park in September, when the gelding benefited from a lively pace and came from last in the seven-horse field to win the 6 1/2-furlong race by 1 1/2 lengths.

After that win, Frankel took a shot with Watchem Smokey in the Grade 1 Vosburgh against a field that included Grade 1 winners Pico Central and Speightstown, who won the Breeders' Cup Sprint in his next start. Watchem Smokey finished last in the five-horse field.

is at a level where he belongs and should receive an ideal stalking trip. Edgar Prado rides Watchem Smokey from post 3.

is an intriguing horse. The gelding has made 14 starts this year, with a record of 5-3-1. Mighty David has won four of his last five starts, as he has successfully moved up the claiming ranks for trainer Bobby Barbara, who claimed the 5-year-old from trainer Steve Asmussen for $25,000 on July 31.

Mighty David won his last start against three rivals in a $100,000 claimer at Belmont on Oct. 1. Mighty David, who broke slowly - something he has a propensity to do - won the six-furlong race by 1 1/4 lengths over the pacesetter, Spooky Mulder.

John Velazquez rides Mighty David, who drew post 2.

, a stakes winner, is the class of the field and is always eligible to run a big race.

All Hail Stormy, the only 3-year-old in the field, won his turf debut in the Bergen County Stakes at The Meadowlands on Oct. 16. All Hail Stormy, the favorite, was a half-length winner of the five-furlong race.

Mr. Whitestone has to bounce back off a poor effort as the favorite in an allowance race at Monmouth in September. Mr. Whitestone is trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., who is off to a strong start at the meet.