06/07/2001 12:00AM

Smok'n Frolic slips and then wins Fashion

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ELMONT, N.Y. - An awkward beginning proved a blessing in disguise for Smok'n Frolic, who romped to a 5 3/4-length victory in Thursday's $82,225 Fashion Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Belmont. Ghost Wrestling, the even-money favorite, held second after dueling with My Heart's Deelite, who finished another three-quarters of a length back in third.

Jockey Jerry Bailey was able to take Smok'n Frolic off the pace after her hind end slipped coming out of the gate, and she was squeezed entering the far turn. While Ghost Wrestling and My Heart's Deelite dueled through an opening quarter of 22.03 seconds, Smok'n Frolic raced between horses around the turn, then came three wide turning for home. She took command leaving the eighth pole and drew clear.

Smok'n Frolic, a daughter of Smoke Glacken owned by Dogwood Stable, covered the five furlongs in 57.92 seconds over a fast track and returned $7 to win.

"Her back end slipped and it would have been a real effort to keep up head and head with them, so I let her settle," Bailey said. "It might have been the best thing that happened."

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Smok'n Frolic would most likely be pointed to the $100,000 Astoria Stakes here on July 1.

Favorite leaps to victory

Praise the Prince, the 4-5 favorite, held off Pelagos to win the $100,000 Meadowbrook, the final leg of the steeplechase Triple Crown at Belmont Park Thursday.

Praise the Prince, ridden by Gus Brown, was a nose winner of Pelagos, who battled back with a late surge that nearly nailed him the win. War Talk finished third in the 2 1/2-mile race, which was run over 12 fences.

Trained by Sanna Neilson for Augustin Stables, Praise the Prince ($3.70) won the first leg of the triple at Churchill in the Hard Scuffle. Flasher, who captured the second leg, the Joe Aitcheson, ran fourth in the Meadowbrook.

The final time was 4:49.27.

Wagering menu, TV schedule

The Belmont Stakes card will feature a few wagering wrinkles that aren't on a normal card. With 12 races, there will be five daily doubles (races 1-2, 4-5, 8-9, 10-11, and 11-12). Superfecta wagering will be available on the Belmont Stakes and the 12th race.

The pick six, which features a guaranteed minimum pool of $1 million, will begin with race 6. A pick four begins with race 8 and has a guaranteed minimum pool of $250,000. There is also a pick four beginning with race 9 with no guaranteed pool.

Fans attending Belmont Park will only be able to wager on races from Belmont Park. There will be no simulcasting on Saturday.

New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. will offer full-card simulcasting from Churchill Downs, Calder, and Finger Lakes.

In addition to NBC's coverage of the Belmont, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern, there will be five additional hours of television coverage Saturday from Belmont Park.

The New York NBC affiliate, Channel 4, will broadcast a 90-minute show beginning at 9 a.m. and another 30-minute show from 1:30-2 p.m. ESPN will televise the True North Handicap, the Just a Game Breeders' Cup, and the Riva Ridge during a two-hour telecast beginning at 3 p.m. ESPN2 will host a one-hour Triple Crown highlight show beginning at 6:30 p.m.

What's in a name

Naming a registered Thoroughbred is not as simple as you might think. The process is governed by The Jockey Club, which essentially has veto power over a horse's name. The Jockey Club, which reviews name requests, can reject an owner's selection if it deems the name vulgar, overtly commercial, or too long. (The Thoroughbred registry only allows names to take up 18 spaces, including punctuation and spaces between words.)

Owners also must be certain the name they want is not too similar to an existing name in spelling or pronunciation, another grounds for refusal.

When an owner prepares to name a horse, he or she submits a list of names, in order of preference, and The Jockey Club, after reviewing the names in the order of the owner's preference selects the first acceptable name.

Of course, within those parameters, owners are free to use their ingenuity, personal memories, pedigree knowledge, and sense of humor to tag their horses. This year's Belmont Stakes field includes horses whose names sprang from all manner of inspiration.

A P Valentine: Rick Pitino and Michael Tabor's colt is by the stallion A. P. Indy. But his dam is Twenty Eight Carats, so where does the Valentine come from? He was foaled on Feb. 14, 1998 - Valentine's Day.

Balto Star: The Arkansas Derby winner is owned by Stuart and Anita Subotnick, whose grandchildren named him after the Alaskan sled dog in the 1995 animated movie "Balto."

Buckle Down Ben: His previous owners, Philip and Marcia Cohen, named the colt for their son, Ben.

Dollar Bill: According to their racing manager, Ben Glass, owners Gary and Mary West named their colt after the United States currency, "because everybody loves a dollar bill."

Dr Greenfield: This runner was already named when Team Valor purchased him overseas. He is not named after a real person, though Team Valor president Barry Irwin says a couple of the stable's partners know people by that very name. The name comes from his pedigree: Dr Greenfield is by Dr Devious out of the Green Forest mare Memory Green.

Invisible Ink: His name is child's play, says John Fort, principal of the colt's owner, Peachtree Stable. "The origin of his name is just the child's game," Fort said. "At least in my era, every child got one of those kits with invisible ink, and it would disappear when they wrote with it. The name didn't have anything in particular to do with the horse. It's just a cute name that everyone seems to remember and like." Fort took the fun one step further by leaving the brass nameplate on Invisible Ink's halter blank.

Monarchos: John and Debby Oxley's runner has a name that comes from his pedigree. Monarchos is by Maria's Mon, who is in turn a son of Wavering Monarch.

Point Given: Word is that the colt's owner, Prince Ahmed bin Salman, named him out of the blue, presumably as a play on the common expression "point taken."

Thunder Blitz: Owner Frank Stronach's Adena Springs organization, which names about 120 horses each year, says that Stronach likes using the words "thunder" and "lightning" in his runners' names because they are powerful words. "Blitz," incidentally, is the word for lightning in German, which is Stronach's native language.

* Continuing a tradition that started several years ago, members of the Belmont Park jockey colony visited the nearby Ronald McDonald House, where seriously ill children live with their families while they receive medical treatments at area hospitals.

- additional reporting by Glenye Cain and Karen M. Johnson