Babae Draws Away in Violet Handicap

Babae and jockey Jorge Chavez wore down pacesetter Platinum Tiara before drawing off to a three-length win in the $150,000 Violet Handicap (gr. IIIT) at the Meadowlands on Friday night.

A 6-year-old mare by Barkerville, Babae covered the 1 1/16 mile over a firm turf in 1:41 and returned $6.40, $4.20 and $2.80. Platinum Tiara, who held for the place, paid $11 and $4. The exacta combination returned $88. Stylish was another neck back in third for $2.20 to show.

The Chilean-bred Babae won for the third time in six starts in 2002, and she is 13 for 38 in her career. She increased her earnings for owner Joseph Platt to more than $675,000.

"I brought her here (instead of to the Noble Damsel at Belmont Saturday) because there was more money and Jorge could ride her here," said winning trainer Frank Alexander. "He knows her well and is able to get her to relax."

It was 13th win in 38 tries for the Chilean-bred Babae, who boosted her bankroll to $674,314 for owner Joseph P. Platt, Jr.

In the night's other stakes action, River Rush led nearly wire-to-wire to capture the $50,000 John Henry Stakes for 3-year-olds and up.

Trained by Lisa Lewis and ridden by Richard Migliore, River Rush covered the mile and 70 yards over a firm turf in 1:39 and returned $6.20, $4.20 and $3.60. It was a half-length back to American Freedom, who pressed the pace most of the way and completed a $61.40 exacta. Megantic was another neck back in third.

It was the third consecutive win for the 4-year-old colt by Strodes Creek, who improved his lifetime mark to six from 16 for earnings of $175,670 for owners Gold Spur Stable and Alan Quartucci.

(Chart, Equibase)