02/02/2002 1:00AM

Brown Bess a breeze for Janet


ALBANY, Calif. - Heavily favored Janet, winner of two Grade 1 stakes last year, cruised to an easy 1 3/4-length win in Saturday's Grade 3 Brown Bess Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

The 5-year-old Janet ($3), winner of 8 of 22 lifetime starts, sat comfortably in second in a paceless field of five older fillies and mares. When David Flores asked her to run in the stretch, she quickly went past pacesetter Impeachable and won the 1 1/16-mile turf race in 1:44.14 over a good course. Impeachable held off the closing charge of Alexine to finish second by a neck.

"That's what we were hoping for," said Scott Chaney, the assistant to Janet's trainer, Darrell Vienna. "She's very handy about what she can do."

Flores gave Janet a confident ride. "I just hung on and rode her to keep her mind focused on the race," he said. "Normally, she looks around a lot, but today she was all business."

The victory, worth $55,000, boosted Janet's lifetime earnings to $931,737. She can go over the million-dollar mark with a victory in the Grade 2, $250,000 Santa Barbara Handicap at Santa Anita on April 20.