10/10/2003 11:00PM

Frisco Belle wins Palo Alto

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Frisco Belle ($7.40), a runner-up in three of her previous four stakes starts, launched a strong rally on the second turn and powered to victory in the $74,100 Palo Alto Handicap at Bay Meadows on Saturday.

Frisco Belle sat off Watch Out World's fast pace in the one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies. She got a ground-saving trip early, slipped between horses on the second turn then eased out into the lane before outkicking Watch Out World and Midnight Rhapsody. She defeated Watch Out World by two lengths, winning in 1:36.47.

Watch Out World, who was passed by Midnight Rhapsody in the lane as she fell back to third, re-rallied along the rail to finish 1 1/2 lengths in front of Midnight Rhapsody.

Trainer Greg Gilchrist added blinkers to Frisco Belle before she won a $62,500 claimer on the turf at Del Mar on Aug. 18. Frisco Belle then ran second in the Sept. 13 Carmel Handicap over the Longden Turf Course at Bay Meadows before her initial stakes victory, which came on the main track.

"I think the blinkers helped, and I think the turf helped her," Gilchrist said. "No doubt, running a route of ground helps, too, and she likes what she's doing.

"She got a dream trip, and Joey (Castro) rode a good race."

Castro was confident the whole way.

"When she squeezed through the hole at the 3/8ths pole, I had a lot of horse," he said. "She threaded the needle, then swung back outside, and there was no stopping her."

Frisco Belle, winning for the fourth time in 10 starts, earned $43,500 to lift her career total to $152,360 for owner Harry Aleo.