07/09/2002 11:00PM

Smok'n Frolic starts fresh


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher is not necessarily looking to make a turf horse out of Smok'n Frolic. He is just looking for a spot in which to bring her back off an extended layoff.

Friday, the multiple stakes-winning Smok'n Frolic is scheduled to return in a classified allowance for fillies and mares at seven furlongs over the Widener Turf Course at Belmont Park. It will be the first race for Smok'n Frolic since she finished seventh as the even-money favorite in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream on Feb. 24. It will also be the first allowance race Smok'n Frolic has run in, having competed in eight straight stakes after winning her maiden.

Smok'n Frolic, who at 2 won the Fashion, Tempted, and Demoiselle, was diagnosed with a lung infection following the Davona Dale. Though Smok'n Frolic remained in training briefly thereafter, it was soon determined she couldn't make the major 3-year-old events of the spring and she was given 45 days off.

Smok'n Frolic is by sprinter Smoke Glacken out of the Green Dancer mare, Cherokyfrolicflash, who is a half-sister to Fabulous Frolic, winner of the Tropical Park Derby on turf.

Pletcher said he has twice worked Smok'n Frolic on turf, once last fall at Keeneland and once last month at Belmont. In her most recent turf workout, Smok'n Frolic went five furlongs in 1:00.45, the second-fastest of 11 works at the distance.

"Johnny [Velazquez] worked her and he said she handled it well," Pletcher said. "It's a place to start back and it puts us in a position to go somewhere from there."

Though Smok'n Frolic has not run in nearly five months, Pletcher said, "she's tight enough. She's put on a lot of weight here in the last month and seems to be training as well as she ever has."

Friday's feature race drew a field of 10, six of whom have never run on turf. That includes Shuvee winner Shiny Band and the multiple stakes winning Dat You Miz Blue.

Of those that have run on turf, Softly Tread looks best, having won a Grade 3 stakes in Ireland when trained by James Fanshawe. In her first start in this country for Christophe Clement, Softly Tread finished sixth as the even-money favorite in an optional claiming race at Monmouth. Softly Tread gets Lasix for the first time on Friday.

Shooting Party, a stablemate of Shiny Band, finished second in the Grade 1 Garden City here last September, but has finished last in her only two starts - both on dirt - this year.

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