01/15/2007 1:00AM

Bill Place wins Jimmy Winkfield


Bill Place won the early pace battle with Wollaston Bay, then drew away from that rival in the final furlong to register a 3 1/4-length victory in Monday's $62,082 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters at Aqueduct.

Wollaston Bay, the 4-5 favorite, finished second by 6 1/4 lengths over B.B. Mancini. Holy Wonder and Place Your Bet, the only other entrants, were scratched.

Jockey Ramon Dominguez had Bill Place at Wollaston Bay's throatlatch through fractions of 22.20 seconds and 44.89. After receiving two cracks of Dominguez's whip in upper stretch, Bill Place drew away, covering six furlongs in 1:10.44. Bill Place, a gelded son of Master Bill owned by Michael Dubb and trained by Tony Dutrow, returned $4.80.

"My horse was happy dueling," Dominguez said. "Any other race, you don't want to be dueling, because you worry about setting too quick of a pace for the horses from behind. But I felt pretty confident that I had a better horse."

* Apprentice jockey Kyle Branch was complaining of neck pain after hitting his head in the starting gate in Monday's first race. Branch's mount, Meadow Belle, charged the gate and broke through before the start of the race. Branch jumped off the horse, who was scratched. Branch was taken to Jamaica Hospital, but left after staying three hours without having X-rays taken, according to his agent, Doug Hatten. Branch was to see his own doctor on Tuesday.

* In the second race, Mike Luzzi took off Gold Shamrock after that horse unseated him in the paddock. Luzzi twisted his ankle, but returned to ride his other two mounts.