09/27/2003 12:00AM

Derrianne feels right at home


Derrianne must have felt right at home racing over a turf course that was less than firm.

An Irish-bred 3-year-old filly who raced exclusively in France for the first seven starts of her career, including four tries over courses rated yielding or soft, Derrianne ($5.20) relished the "good" surface at Pimlico Saturday as she drew off to a 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $147,000 Martha Washington Breeders' Cup.

Making her North American debut and first start for trainer Christophe Clement, Derrianne and jockey Brice Blanc sat patiently in third for the first six furlongs of the 1 1/16-mile race behind pacesetters Impolite and Little Miss Pamela before making a decisive move in the stretch. She took the lead about a furlong from home and covered the distance in 1:46.53. Chic Joy, coming off a maiden win at Saratoga, rallied to get second.

"She didn't handle the track too well but she showed a lot of heart, a lot of desire," Blanc said of Derrianne, a daughter of Cozzene. "When I asked her to go down the lane she gave me a kick and she was definitely the best of them."

The original field of 14 was reduced to seven by scratches.