06/27/2002 11:00PM

Tom Fool next for Affirmed Success


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Richard Schosberg said picking between the Tom Fool and Poker - a pair of graded stakes run at Belmont Park this week - for Affirmed Success is the kind of decision he wishes he had to make more often.

"These are the decisions you want to make," Schosberg said Friday at his Belmont barn. "I agonize over what claiming races to go in."

Schosberg had to choose between Friday's $100,000-added Poker, a mile grass race won by Affirmed Success the last two years, and Thursday's $150,000 Tom Fool, which will be run at Affirmed Success's favorite distance of seven furlongs on the dirt.

It appears likely that Affirmed Success, a 8-year-old with more than $2 million in earnings, is headed to the Grade 2 Tom Fool, a race he finished second in three years ago.

Schosberg said a couple of factors went into the decision, including Affirmed Success's excellent record of 7 wins from 12 starts at the Tom Fool's distance. Another was Shibboleth, who looks like a standout in the Grade 3 Poker.

"It's hard to bypass seven-furlong races," Schosberg said, "and Shibboleth looks pretty darn tough in the Poker. [Affirmed Success] is probably better at seven-eighths than he is at a mile on the turf. Naturally, it would have been fun to do the hat trick in the Poker, but that might not be the right move."

Affirmed Success was scheduled to work last Friday, but Schosberg thought the track was a bit on the hard side and decided to wait until Saturday.

When the weights came out Friday for the Tom Fool, Left Bank was listed as the 121-pound highweight. Affirmed Success will carry 120 pounds. Others pointing to the Tom Fool are Appealing Danger (113), Express Tour (116), Southland Blues (112), and Summer Note (113).

Fast work for Summer Note

Summer Note, who suffered his first career defeat in the Grade 2 True North Breeders' Cup on June 8, worked Friday over Belmont's main track in a bullet 1:00.42, breezing, for five furlongs. After overnight rains, the track was listed as muddy, even though it appeared to be a fast surface.

Summer Note's trainer, Barclay Tagg, wasn't sure that the 5-year-old cared for the moisture in the track.

"It was a little wetter than I thought it was," Tagg said. "It was a little greasy."

Summer Note was awesome winning his comeback race here in May after more than two years away from the races. In the True North, Summer Note, who can be a difficult horse to handle, finished fifth after rearing at the start.

Tagg said he doesn't know what happened at the break and is throwing the effort out.

"I don't know what else to do with it," Tagg said. "[The start] killed the whole race."

Another tossout

In that same vein, trainer John Kimmel is tossing out A New Twist's last race and is hoping she returns to form in Saturday's $200,000 Prioress.

The Grade 1 Prioress will be A New Twist's first start since she finished fifth as the favorite in the Ms. Preakness on May 16. A New Twist won two starts earlier this year, including the Old Hat Stakes.

Kimmel said he had a clue that A New Twist might not have been ready to give her best effort when she was docile in the paddock before the Ms. Preakness.

"I don't know what to make of the race," Kimmel said. "Usually when I try to saddle her she's like the Tasmanian devil."

Kimmel said the only excuse he can think of is that he gave A New Twist a sharp work just six days before the Ms. Preakness.

"She'll go a slow half this weekend," Kimmel said.

- England's Legend will carry top weight of 120 pounds when she makes her 4-year-old debut in Thursday's $250,000 New York Handicap, a turf race for fillies and mares. England's Legend, one of the top grass fillies in the country last year, won the 2001 New York.

Others expected in the 1 1/4-mile New York, a Grade 2 stakes, are Janet (119), Tweedside (116), Volga (116), Golden Corona (114), and Owsley (114).