08/24/2006 12:00AM

'Bettie B' rallies from last


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Larry Jones has had more than his fair share of success with 3-year-old fillies in New York, winning major stakes with Island Sand, Hello Liberty, and Wildcat Bettie B. But the Delaware-based trainer had never won a race at Saratoga until Wildcat Bettie B rallied from last to beat G City Gal by one length in Thursday's $100,000 .

"I had to bring a Grade 1 winner into a Grade 3 race to finally win one at Saratoga," Jones said with a smile after the Victory Ride.

Wildcat Bettie B had been idle since rallying from far back to capture the Grade 1 Prioress Breeders' Cup Stakes at Belmont Park on July 8. She suffered a minor eye injury when struck by a clod during that race.

In the Victory Ride, G City Gal and Original Spin contested the early pace while Wildcat Bettie B and jockey Mario Pino were forced to ease back to last after being squeezed near the inside shortly after the start of the six-furlong race. G City Gal eventually won the battle for the lead and appeared to be home free after drawing well clear at midstretch, but she could not withstand the final surge of Wildcat Bettie B, who slipped through along the inside around the turn and eased out for the stretch run. She caught G City Gal 30 yards from the wire.

"She's starting to become a closer after looking like quite a front-runner winning the Miss Preakness," said Jones who trains Wildcat Bettie B for Oasis Racing. "Thank goodness they were running fast up front, the way she got squeezed early. And I thought it was real polite of them to open the rail."

Wildcat Bettie B ($6.60) covered the distance in 1:10.81 over a fast track. Khalila rallied to finish third.

Jerkens ends drought

Lemon Drop Gal rallied from just off a three-horse speed battle to register a 1 1/4-length victory over a game Bucky's Prayer in the $72,000 Grab the Green Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

Kent Desormeaux rode Lemon Drop Gal ($6.50), who ran the distance in 1:02.13. The victory snapped a 36-race winless streak for trainer James Jerkens dating back to June 21.