11/29/2002 12:00AM

Babae acclimatized for My Charmer


MIAMI - Frank Alexander was in New York this weekend to saddle Windsor Castle in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. But the big mare in his stable, Babae, is already in south Florida, preparing for Saturday's Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap.

Babae has had another big year for Alexander and her owner Joseph Platt, winning four of seven starts, all stakes, including the Grade 3 Violet and Athenia handicaps in her last two starts. A 6-year-old Argentine-bred, Babae has earned nearly $750,000 in her career.

"So far so good since she's been down here," said assistant trainer Pat Correa, who has been overseeing Babae and the seven other horses Alexander has at Gulfstream Park. "She's had a chance to get acclimated and worked five furlongs over the main track in 1:01 on Wednesday. We didn't ask her to do much. The main thing is to keep her relaxed. She's very happy right now and that's what really counts."

Jorge Chavez, who was aboard Babae for each of her last two victories, will be down from New York to ride her again in the My Charmer.

Among the other horses Correa has under his care at Gulfstream is Nonsuch Bay, who earlier this year won Belmont's Grade 1 Mother Goose. A 3-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley, Nonsuch Bay began her career at Gulfstream last winter with two wins and a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss Stakes. She also is owned by Platt.

"She's in light training at the moment," said Correa. "She had a maintenance work over the track on Wednesday just to stretch her legs. Right now we're just taking it easy with her and pointing for the Gulfstream meet."

Other Grand Slam I stakes

The My Charmer is one of four stakes on Saturday's Grand Slam I program. The others are the Tropical Turf Handicap, the seven-furlong Kenny Noe Jr. Sprint Handicap, and the seven-furlong Chaposa Springs Handicap for fillies and mares. All four races offer $100,000 purses and all but the Kenny Noe carry Grade 3 status.

Topping the expected lineup for the 1 1/8-mile Tropical Turf will be local division leader and defending champion Band Is Passing. The 6-year-old homebred Band Is Passing returned from a summer freshening to win the Miami Mile Breeders' Cup and Flying Pidgeon handicaps for his owner-trainer, Stanley Ersoff.

"He's doing well right now," said Ersoff. "I worked him an easy five furlongs on the turf on Monday and I'll probably work him one more time, likely over the dirt, on Monday or Tuesday."

Another potential candidate for the Tropical Turf is North East Bound, who seeks to rebound from a sixth-place finish as the 5-2 favorite in Aqueduct's Grade 2 Knickerbocker Handicap on Nov. 2.

"He popped a quarter crack in his last race," said Joe Prince, assistant to trainer Bill Perry, who was scheduled to arrive in town on Saturday. "We plan to run him in the Tropical Turf if he can make it to the race. It depends on how the foot is doing once we get him back to the track."

The versatile North East Bound is a graded stakes winner on both turf and dirt, having registered his lone victory this year in Gulfstream's Grade 3 Canadian Turf Handicap, a race taken off the grass and decided over a "good" main track.