10/27/2001 11:00PM

'Smok'n' frolics in Tempted


ELMONT, N.Y. - Smok'n Frolic returned to her favorite surface Sunday and finally achieved her first graded stakes victory, romping to a 6 1/4-length score in the $111,500, Grade 3 Tempted on closing day at Belmont Park.

Saintly Action, who took a short lead approaching the quarter pole, settled for second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Wopping.

The victory was the 17th of the meet for trainer Todd Pletcher, who finished as the meet's leading trainer by three over Mark Hennig.

Jerry Bailey won the riding title with 36 wins, two more than Edgar Prado and John Velazquez.

In the spring, Smok'n Frolic ran three times at Belmont, winning twice including the Fashion Stakes. She also finished second in the Astoria. Her best effort since leaving Belmont was a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga.

In an attempt to avoid You and Cashier's Dream in the Grade 1 Frizette earlier this month, Pletcher sent Smok'n Frolic to Keeneland for the Alcibiades. She was five wide on both turns and finished fifth, beaten 14 1/4 lengths. Pletcher felt he could not go into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies off that effort, so he pointed to the Tempted.

Under Velazquez, Smok'n Frolic settled into sixth position through the first half-mile before advancing toward front-runner Cherokee Girl while racing wide approaching the quarter pole. Saintly Action, under Bailey, made a similar move to the lead along the rail, but could not match strides with Smok'n Frolic in the stretch.

Smok'n Frolic, a daughter of Smoke Glacken owned by Dogwood Stable, covered the mile in 1:37.77, and returned $6.10 to win as the favorite.

"At Keeneland, she was so upset, she never got to relax," Velazquez said. "Today, she was much better. She broke good, I put my hands down, and when I asked her to run she responded. It was really good."

Pletcher said that despite being by a sprint champion, Smok'n Frolic acts like a horse who will stretch out. He will give her that chance in the $200,000 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 24.

Frankel goes home a winner

Bobby Frankel left New York not only with his first Breeders' Cup victory, but with a potential new turf star.

Aldebaran, a 3-year-old son of Mr. Prospector making his U.S. debut against older horses, rallied powerfully from last under Jorge Chavez to take the $139,200 Nassau Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths over Capsized.

Tubrok, the 7-5 favorite, finished third, followed by Shadow Caster, North East Bound, Presente Senor and Sardaukar.

It capped a wonderful fall in New York for Frankel, who finished the Belmont meet with 10 wins - eight in stakes - from 30 starters. On Saturday, he notched his first Breeders' Cup win with Squirtle Squirt in the Sprint.

Aldebaran was sent to Frankel less than two weeks ago from Europe where he was trained by Henry Cecil. Although he had won only once in seven starts for Flaxman Stable, Aldebaran came highly regarded.

Under Chavez, Aldebaran was last for the opening half-mile before splitting rivals around the turn. Chavez swung him wide for the drive and he powerfully kicked past Tubrok at the eighth pole to drew clear for the win. Aldebaran covered the mile in 1:33.62 and returned $11.60 to win.

"I didn't think he'd win that easy," Frankel said. "If I can keep him running like that, he can be a very, very good horse. He's got a super pedigree; he might run on dirt too."

Frankel said he would ship Aldebaran to California along with the rest of his stable later this week.

For Chavez, the Nassau marked his last ride in New York for a while. He was to leave for Kentucky Monday night and begin riding regularly at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.