Pletcher Expects Old Spark from Smok'n Frolic

(from Saratoga track report)
Dogwood Stable's Smok'n Frolic didn't show much spark in her last start, but Todd Pletcher, Saratoga's leading trainer, says he isn't concerned that she'll give a similar effort in Friday's $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap, which was upgraded to grade II status this season.

For the past year, Pletcher has been looking forward to bringing Smok'n Frolic back to the six-furlong Honorable Miss, which is for fillies and mares, after she rallied to finish third in last year's edition to Willa On the Move and Shine Again.

"She ran well in the Honorable Miss last year," Pletcher said. "So, we decided to give her another shot. She may be better suited from seven furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth. However, she has also raced against better, too."

In her most recent start, Smok'n Frolic was fifth to La Reason in the Molly Pitcher Handicap (gr. II) at Monmouth Park. Smok'n Frolic was close to the pace or most of the race before fading.

"She did not fire at all," Pletcher said. "She has been known to do that on occasion. It seems she has bounced (back) from that and has been training well since. We're pretty enthusiastic about her here. If there is a good pace scenario up front, then she has a good shot in picking up the pieces."

Smok'n Frolic is the highest money-earner in the field of nine with just over $1.5 million in 31 career starts. She is a two-time winner of the Next Move Handicap (gr. III), winner of last year's Turfway Park Breeders' Cup and won both the Tempted and Demoiselle Stakes as a 2-year-old.

Yell also comes out of the Molly Pitcher for Claude "Shug" McGaughey, who will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame on Monday. Yell was second in the Molly Pitcher.

"She's a good filly, but she's an in-between horse," McGaughey said. "I don't think her best races are going a mile and a sixteenth and it may not be at three-quarters, either. I think she wants to be more of a come-from-behind sprinter than a router. She has a lot of speed to use. At six furlongs, she's going to use that speed."

This is the second race at Saratoga for Yell, who made a belated rally to finish . fourth, only beaten 21/4 lengths, to Harmony Lodge and Shine Again in the Ballerina (gr. I).

"She got stuck on the inside and Pat [Day] could not get her out until the last eighth of a mile," McGaughey said. "When she finally came out, she started running. If she gets a pace in front of her and is able to stay back a little bit in the early stages here, she'll be a factor."

Cologny, Savorthetime and Summer Mis figure to provide the sort of pace McGaughey and Pletcher are hoping for.

Cologny has won four starts in her last six races since being claimed for $25,000 by Scott Lake last February at Aqueduct, including a pair of restricted stakes.

Summer Mis, who has won seven of nine in her career at six furlongs, has also won two stake races this year.

Steve Asmussen will saddle Savorthetime, a winner of eight races in 20 career starts. In her lone graded stakes attempt, Savorthetime was fifth in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland.

$150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap, fillies & mares 3 & up, 6 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Ebony Breeze (KY), Jerry D. Bailey, 115, 6/1
2. Summer Mis (IL), Larry J. Sterling, Jr., 115, 5/1
3. Savorthetime (KY), Shane J. Sellers, 115, 4/1
4. Travelator (NY), Aaron T. Gryder, 113, 10/1
5. Cologny (NY), Roberto Alvarado, Jr., 113, 12/1
6. My Trusty Cat (KY), Pat Day, 115, 12/1
7. Smok'n Frolic (FL), Edgar S. Prado, 116, 3/1
8. Yell (KY), John R. Velazquez, 115, 9/2
9. Belong to Sea (KY), Javier Castellano, 113, 12/1