07/14/2005 11:00PM

Smokume leads Tom Fool seven


ELMONT, N.Y. - Sunday's Grade 2 Tom Fool at Belmont Park lacks the quality it has had in recent runnings. Two of the last three winners were crowned champions the year they won the Tom Fool, including the 2004 winner, Horse of the Year Ghostzapper. Left Bank, the 2002 winner, was named handicap champion the year he won the Tom Fool.

This year's edition of the $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap matches seven useful sprinters, but no standouts.

Smokume and Willy o'The Valley are the co-highweights at 115 pounds.

, the likely favorite, has won half of his eight starts at Belmont, but is without a win in two starts at the Tom Fool distance of seven furlongs. On the other hand, Willy o'the Valley has won 4 of 8 starts at seven furlongs and is 2 for 4 at Belmont.

Under Chantal Sutherland, the speedy Smokume drew the rail, which likely will force him to go to the early lead. "He's not comfortable with horses pressing him from the outside," Sutherland said.

Cornelio Velasquez rides , who is coming off a dull effort in the Grade 2 True North Breeders' Cup Handicap here on Belmont Stakes Day.

Swingforthefences, the winner of last year's Iowa Derby, is an intriguing runner from trainer Rick Violette's barn. For most of his career, Swingforthefences has competed in route races, but his last two starts in sprints yielded solid results, including a win at seven furlongs at Keeneland in an allowance race. Swingforthefences enters the Tom Fool after a freshening. He hasn't run since finishing second in the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap on May 4.

, a New York-bred, isn't proven in open stakes company, but this soft spot is a good opportunity for him to step it up. He gets in light at 112 pounds, 11 fewer than his assignment in a statebred handicap victory here on June 23. Clever Electrician had a sharp three-furlong work in 35 seconds flat on July 5, the fastest of 21 works at the distance.

Just when you think Voodoo has seen better days, the 7-year-old gelding shows up with a gutsy effort. Without a win since 2003, Voodoo ran a big race off a layoff to finish second in the True North.

Gadace's Khamseh, who figures to be chasing Smokume early, makes his Belmont debut after wins this spring in a Philadelphia Park stakes and an optional claimer at Delaware Park.

Shaniko, eligible for a third-level allowance race, completes the field.