04/09/2005 12:00AM

First Draft wins Miss America Handicap


SAN MATEO, Calif. - First Draft ($18.80) turned the tables on favored Pickle, winning a three-way photo in the $64,875 Miss America Handicap at Bay Meadows on Saturday.

First Draft, who circled the field four wide on the second turn, caught the game pacesetter Marla Bay in the final strides of the 1 1/16-mile race run on a yielding turf course, winning by a head in 1:44.88. Marla Bay, who ran head-and-head with Pickle the final quarter mile, finished a head in front of the 11-to-10 favorite.

First Draft was last down the backstretch before beginning her bid on the second turn.

"I was a little concerned with her being so far back," said trainer Steve Miyadi, who decided at the last minute not to run the 6-year-old mare in blinkers.

"She was last, but she was running good," winning jockey Miguel Perez said. "She moved up strong on the turn. When I asked her in the stretch, it took some time for her to get going, but she really responded late."

First Draft had a two-race win streak snapped by Pickle on March 12. She now has won three of her past four starts, earning $40,125 for her seventh career victory in 34 starts. Her total earnings are now $295,469.