07/25/2003 11:00PM

Beau's Town victorious in Bing Crosby

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Beau's Town left no doubt on Saturday that his success in major stakes in the South can be equally potent in California.

Making his first start on the West Coast, Beau's Town scored a convincing win in the $191,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar. The race served as a prep for the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Oak Tree at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

"Every time he's ever moved up to the next level, he's answered the question," co-owner Dave Hulkewicz said. "I needed to find out if he belonged and he does."

Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, Beau's Town ($12.20) ran six furlongs in 1:07.96, finishing 1 1-2 lengths in front of Captain Squire, the 2-1 favorite. Bluesthestandard finished third in the field of nine. Kona Gold, the 2000 champion sprinter, finished fifth.

Beau's Town was always near the pace. Valenzuela had Beau's Town in second on the backstretch, chasing 34-1 Giovannetti through an opening quarter-mile in 21.87 seconds. On the turn, Beau's Town took the lead after a half-mile in 44.10 seconds and began to pull away.

"I didn't know he was this fast," said Valenzuela, who rode Beau's Town for the first time.

Captain Squire was within 1 1-2 lengths of Beau's Town at the eighth pole, but could not make up the difference in the final furlong. "We just ran into a monster," said Jeff Mullins, the trainer of Captain Squire.

Beau's Town gave Southern-based trainer Cole Norman his first California stakes win with his first starter. Beau's Town, 5, has won 10 of 14 starts and $499,400 for owners Hulkewicz and Bobby Beck. Six of the wins have come in stakes.

*Sarava, the 2002 Belmont Stakes winner, finished sixth in a $70,000 optional claimer in Saturday's seventh race, his first start for trainer Bob Baffert and first start in 14 months.

Sarava stumbled at the start, raced in mid-pack and did not threaten the leaders in the stretch.

Nose the Trade ($16.60), who was always near the front, held off a late run from Fleetstreet Dancer, to end a 12-race losing streak.