03/03/2007 1:00AM

Baghdaria wires in Sweetheart


Baghdaria was a dominant, 7 1/4-length winner of Friday night's $75,000 Sweetheart at Delta Downs, her first start since the Breeders' Cup Distaff in November. The race is expected to serve as her stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap next month at Oaklawn Park.

"That's what's on the book right now," winning trainer Tom Amoss had said earlier this week.

Baghdaria led throughout in the Sweetheart to win over Superb Ravi, who finished 3 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher No Sleep.

Baghdaria, the 2-5 favorite who paid $2.80, was bumped at the start of the one-mile race, but moved to the lead through an opening quarter-mile in 23.21 seconds. She proceeded to increase her advantage through fractions of 47.76 for the half-mile mark, and 1:13.16 for six furlongs. Baghdaria went on to cover the distance in 1:39.50.

Tracy Hebert rode the winner for Amoss.

Baghdaria earned $45,000 for the win, which was her sixth from 13 career starts. She has now earned $642,066. Last year, Baghdaria closed out her season with a seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. She has won four career stakes, including three Grade 3 races. She races for Casa Farms.

The Sweetheart was one of four stakes on the card, some of which served as preps for four stakes at Delta on its closing weekend March 31. In other results, Indigo Girl ($5.80) took the initiative from the start and drew out to a five-length win in the $49,000 Mademoiselle. Kerwin Clark was aboard for trainer Sam Breaux.

* Silent Pleasure ($12.20) was a seven-length winner over Dreamsandvisions in the $75,000 Delta Mile. Hebert rode the winner for trainer Howard Scarberry

* Chief What It is ($15.40) led throughout for a 1 1/2-length win over Shark in the $49,000 Delta Express. Jamie Theriot was aboard for trainer Lori Hendrickson.