10/24/2002 11:00PM

Another easy win for Bien Nicole


Bien Nicole took her established Southwest form on the road Friday at Arlington and captured her fourth straight stakes, easily winning the $100,000 Estrapade over Verruma.

A 4-year-old owned by John and Kristine Richter and trained by Donnie Von Hemel, Bien Nicole showed promise last year at age 3, but hit her peak this summer. Since she was beaten a neck in a Lone Star allowance race on June 9, Bien Nicole has won five races in a row, and only once during her streak has a horse come within two lengths of her.

It was much of the same Friday, as Bien Nicole and jockey Don Pettinger pressed the quick pace of Platinum Tiara over a turf course rated yielding. Platinum Tiara went a half-mile in 47.93 seconds and three quarters in 1:12.66, a testing pace over turf that's taken light rain the last several days. Platinum Tiara began to labor at the top of the stretch, but Bien Nicole was just getting cranked up.

She quickly took the lead and opened up daylight on the field, and only Verruma, who raced in mid-pack, made any sort of move in the stretch. She passed Kiss the Devil to earn the place, but Bien Nicole was all alone at the finish, checking in a three-length winner. Bien Nicole was timed in 1:44.52 and paid $11.60 to win.

o Trainer Wayne Catalano set an Arlington record for wins at a meet when Nicholas Cal won the sixth race on Friday. It was Catalano's 63rd winner, eclipsing the mark set by Noel Hickey here in 1991. Earlier in the week, Frank Calabrese, for whom Catalano trains privately, set a meet record for owners with his 63rd winner.