10/16/2006 12:00AM

Pommes Frites rallies to capture Athenia


Pommes Frites showed a new dimension on Sunday, rallying from off the pace to win the Grade 3, $112,300 Athenia Handicap by three-quarters of length over Chaibia at Belmont Park.

Content to let the speedy Virden set the early pace, jockey Jose Santos let Pommes Frites sit second for the majority of the race before guiding Pommes Frites past her just outside the eighth pole en route to her fifth win from seven starts this year. The majority of those wins came when Pommes Frites was allowed to control the pace from the outset.

Pommes Frites, a 4-year-old daughter of Dynaformer, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.95 over a firm inner turf course and returned $3.80 to win as the odds-on favorite.

Chaibia, who raced in third position throughout the early stages of the race, outfinished Dream Lady by three-quarters of a length for second. Virden, who set early fractions of 25.43 seconds, 49.01, and 1:13.62, faded to fourth.

Pommes Frites, owned by Haras Santa Maria de Araras and trained by Bill Mott, has now won 8 of 16 career starts and earned $432,466. Her only two losses this year have come to Gorella and Karen's Caper, who finished one-two in Saturday's Grade 2 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland.