06/17/2004 12:00AM

'Beautiful' is back on turf


ELMONT, N.Y. - Beautiful America, a quadruple stakes winner on dirt, will try to transfer that form to the turf Sunday, when she runs in the $100,000 Mount Vernon Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares.

Beautiful America was voted New York-bred champion 2-year-old filly in 2002 on the strength of three consecutive stakes victories. She tried the turf last summer, finishing second behind Ocean Drive in the Gaviola Stakes, sixth in the Grade 3 Lake George, and fourth in the Yaddo for New York-breds.

"I thought we'd give her another shot," said trainer Ramon Hernandez. "If you remember the first time we ran her on turf, she ran a super race and got beat by a super filly."

Hernandez says he believes Beautiful America came back rather quickly in her next two turf starts, which may have accounted for the poor efforts.

"Maybe we pushed her a little too much," Hernandez said. "I've kept her fresher than I did last year."

Beautiful America has run twice this year, finishing third in the Broadway Stakes against state-breds before coming back to beat open company in an optional claiming race here May 19. Beautiful America beat a couple of nice fillies in Feline Story and Literary Light that day and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 93.

"That showed she can be competitive in any race," Hernandez said.

Beautiful America was assigned 116 pounds for the Mount Vernon, scheduled for nine furlongs on the inner turf. Jose Santos will ride.

A full field is expected, including Brandala (120 pounds), Dynamic Lisa (118), Perfect Energy (117), I Met Somebody (116), Ma Femme (116), Lady Libby (115), On the Bus (115), Beebe Lake (114), Board Elligible (114), Rose Esther (114), Big Tease (113), Bound on Bi (113), and Raffie's Dream (111).

The field will be limited to 12 runners.

Tracy Badgett suspended

Trainer Billy Badgett, assistant Tracy Badgett, and veterinarian Rodney Stewart received disciplinary action from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board after Vagabond Saint tested positive for two banned substances following a second-place finish in the second race at Aqueduct on April 14.

The board fined Bill Badgett $3,000 and suspended his assistant and brother, Tracy, for 20 days. Veterinarian Rodney Stewart was fined $2,500 for the incident. Tracy Badgett had his suspension reduced from 45 days for waiving his right of appeal. His suspension was to begin Friday.

According to state steward Carmine Donofrio, Vagabond Saint was treated twice in a six-day period with the drugs Butorphanol and Xylazine, both tranquilizers not permitted for race-day use. Donofrio said Tracy Badgett instructed a groom to bring out a horse to be treated, but the groom apparently brought out the wrong horse. Thus, Vagabond Saint was treated the day before he raced, and the drugs were still in her system.

Billy Badgett was out of town when the incident happened but was fined under the trainer's responsibility rule.

Vagabond Saint is entered to run in a seven-furlong dirt race here Saturday.

Velazquez continues hot streak

For the second time in the last nine racing days, jockey John Velazquez won four consecutive races on one card. On Thursday, Velazquez won the fourth on Cherokee Rap ($7.30), fifth aboard Literary Row ($9.80), sixth on Fabulosity ($6.20), and seventh on Really American ($7.30). On June 6, Velazquez won the first four races on the card.

Velazquez has had eight multiple win days in the last nine cards. During that span he has gone 22 for 65 to open up a 14-win lead in the rider standings.

Also Thursday, Jerry Bailey rode three winners for the second consecutive day.

Bailey and Velazquez have combined to win 12 of the last 18 races run here.

Fragoso due back Wednesday

Jockey Pablo Fragoso, sidelined the last seven weeks because of a broken collarbone, is expected to return to action Wednesday, his agent, Jose Morales, said.

Fragoso was the leading rider during the inner track meet, winning 72 races from 371 mounts. He was an apprentice during that time. Fragoso, who lost his apprenticeship April 21, finished in a tie as third leading rider of Aqueduct's spring meet with 28 wins.

Fragoso was injured April 28 at Aqueduct when Lone Tree, his mount in that day's third race, took a left turn leaving the gate and threw Fragoso over the rail.