10/08/2004 11:00PM

Balletto makes history in Frizette

Balletto wins the Frizette Stakes by three-quarters of a length over Ready's Gal at Belmont Park on Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Balletto became the first horse bred in the United Arab Emirates to win a Grade 1 race in this country in Saturday's $500,000 at Belmont Park.

Balletto, the 7-5 favorite, won the 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies by three-quarters of a length over Ready's Gal. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Sis City, the pacesetter, in third.

Play With Fire, Shebelongs-toyou, Darn That Girl, J P Jewel, and Comacina completed the order of finish.

With Corey Nakatani in the saddle, Balletto saved ground while racing in seventh position down the backstretch. The winner dove through a wide opening on the rail when Sis City, who held the lead leaving the turn, drifted out in upper stretch.

In the final sixteenth, little separated Balletto, Ready's Gal, and Sis City, who drifted back to the inside, but it was Balletto who proved the gamest.

"She was an old professional," Nakatani said. "I pointed her in the right direction and saved ground."

John Velazquez, the rider of Ready's Gal, said Sis City's erratic racing maneuvers in the stretch cost his mount momentum.

"[Sis City] messed me up," Velazquez said. "The other one [Balletto] got through. My momentum was slowed up; the other one got the jump on me."

Balletto ($4.70) covered the distance in 1:43.52 over a fast track.

Sheik Mohammed al Maktoum's Darley Stable bred and owns Balletto, a daughter of 1994 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Timber Country.

"It's a big day for Sheik Mohammed's breeding operation," said Jimmy Bell, the manager of Darley Stud's breeding division in this country.

Tom Albertrani, Balletto's trainer, said, "I was hoping to see Balletto run a big race today. I was a little concerned at the half-mile pole, but Corey had plenty of room by the time she was ready to make a run."

It appears likely that Balletto is headed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Lone Star Park , but Albertrani wouldn't confirm those plans until he spoke with Sheikh Mohammed.