12/31/2005 12:00AM

Drum Major caps Bejarano's day

Jim Linscott
Rafael Bejarano guides Drum Major back to the winner's circle after the pair triumphed in the $100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes at Calder on Saturday.

MIAMI - Jockey Rafael Bejarano was the star of Saturday's Grand Slam III program at Calder after guiding home Drum Major to win the $100,000 .

Drum Major rallied from near the rear of the pack to a 2 1/2-length victory over local division leader Dream On Dream On in the Axthelm, which was run at 7 1/2 furlongs over a firm turf course. Therecomesatiger finished third as the 8-5 favorite after making a premature five-wide run for the lead midway through the race.

Drum Major, a 3-year-old son of Dynaformer, is trained by George Weaver for the Dogwood Stable. He covered the distance in 1:26.83 and paid $13.

Bejarano gave a perfectly judged ride aboard Drum Major, allowing the horse to settle off a contested early pace while saving ground to the stretch. Bejarano angled Drum Major off the rail while rallying leaving the final turn, split the leaders near midstretch, and won going away.

Dream On Dream On was game in defeat. He was pinched back and steadied along the hedge midway along the backstretch and then outfinished Therecomesatiger by a half-length to be second. Completing the order of finish were Touched by Madness, Tinseltown, Ramazutti, Taming the Tiger, Looks Good Junic, Lamor, B. B. Best, Silver Moose, and Military Major.

"We knew he was a nice horse from the start, and he showed enough on dirt in the fall to try him in the big races earlier this year," said Weaver of Drum Major. "He had some nagging problems so we decided to give him 60 days off, and he's come back well. It looks like we'll keep him on the grass for now."

Bejarano used similar tactics aboard Laurafina, who burst out of the pack around the second turn, then continued on strongly despite bearing out briefly moving into the stretch to wear down pacesetter Champagne Ending for a three-quarter-length win in the Grade 3 Genter.

More Than Promised rallied from the rear of the pack to finish third and Pommes Frites saved ground and failed to kick on late while checking in fourth as the 5-2 favorite in a field of 12 fillies and mares.

Elle Runaway stumbled and fell shortly after the start, unseating jockey Eddie Castro. Neither horse nor rider was injured.

Laurafina, a daughter of Cozzene, paid $19.40 after running 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:27.07. She is trained by Robert Barbara for the Sabine Stable.

"We found she had some soft tissue damage in her leg after she finished sixth as the favorite in the Lake George Stakes last summer at Saratoga," said Barbara. "We considered bringing her back in an allowance race last week but decided to go for it and run in the stakes instead."

Malibu Mint scores Chaposa upset

Malibu Mint ($27.20) overcame a rough trip, rallying to win the $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap for owner Carolyn Chapman and her husband, trainer Jim Chapman.

Malibu Mint was several lengths off the lead in midpack when she suddenly was pinched back by two rivals soon after entering the far turn of the seven-furlong race. She temporarily dropped back to seventh in the field of nine fillies and mares, but quickly recovered to reenter the fray.

"Both those horses squeezed me, but that just made her mad," said jockey Kristi Chapman, who was aboard Malibu Mint for her parents. "She just dug in harder."

Tigi, a 21-1 shot, rallied late to finish second, three lengths behind the winner and another half-length before Lilah. Injustice, the 6-5 favorite, also encountered a traffic snafu on the far turn but had no response thereafter and finished sixth.

For Malibu Mint, the Grade 3 Chaposa Springs was her fourth victory in 11 career starts and the first in a stakes. Since winning only one of her first eight races, she has won three in a row, counting back-to-back allowances wins at Calder before Saturday.

Malibu Mint, a Kentucky-bred by Malibu Moon, was timed in 1:24.97 over a fast main track. She was one of two 3-year-olds in the field and carried 112 pounds, seven fewer than a trio of highweights.

Mocita wins Stage Door Betty

Mocita ($11.80), one of three starters for trainer Marty Wolfson in a field of nine fillies and mares, rallied for her second straight stakes victory in the $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap.

Ridden by Eddie Castro, Mocita raced well back in the early going before launching her winning bid when widest of all.

"Marty told me that she would finish well as long as I kept her to the outside and gave her a chance," said Castro.

Special Report finished second, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner and another three-quarters of a length before Pitanga. Sweet Lips, the 4-5 favorite, broke a bit awkwardly and was never a serious factor, finishing sixth.

The other Wolfson starters, Potra Clasica and Preach It, ran seventh and eighth.

Mocita, a 3-year-old Boundary filly bought privately in July by David Hutson, has won 6 of 18 starts and $166,220. She won the Nov. 20 Storm Frolic at Calder in her previous start.

"She ran a powerful race today," said Wolfson. "She's just gotten better and better since we stretched her out."

Wolfson said he was unsure about which Gulfstream Park stakes Mocita would run in next.

Mocita carried 118 pounds, one fewer than a trio of highweights. The win was the third on the 12-race card for Castro.

Mocita completed an all-stakes pick four that had no winning favorites and returned $7,069.30 for each $1 bet. The winning numbers were 7-6-10-9, and handle on the wager was $232,546.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee