05/06/2006 12:00AM

Hello Liberty takes Nassau


Going into Saturday's $205,600 , none of the six 3-year-old fillies in the field had won a graded stakes. That is still true for five of them, but Hello Liberty became a Grade 2 winner after chasing pacesetter Win McCool from the start, and wearing that rival down late to score by a neck after seven furlongs in 1:22.65 on a fast main track at Belmont Park.

Win McCool shook loose beneath Richard Migliore to set a fast pace of 22.38 and 44.71 seconds, and maintained a three-length lead in midstretch after six furlongs in 1:09.

As Win McCool began to drift out, Hello Liberty came through on the inside under Norberto Arroyo Jr. and put her head in front just strides from the wire. Win McCool remained 5 1/4 lengths clear of Swap Fliparoo, who came from last to finish third. Diamond Spirit, Crystal Current, and How True It Is completed the order of finish.

"I knew Mig's filly was running really, really fast because my filly was running so hard," said Arroyo of Migliore and Win McCool. "Going inside was a split-second decision. I saw Mig's filly started to drift."

Trained by Larry Jones, who engineered Island Sand's victory in the 2004 Acorn Stakes, Hello Liberty earned $124,560, and improved her lifetime record to 4-2-1 from seven starts.

Hello Liberty paid $21.20 as the longest price on the board, and helped produce a two-day pick-six carryover of $144,515.

"She has proven to be gutsy and versatile," said Jones. "We ran in the Acorn a couple of years ago, and we kind of liked that race. The way she finished up today, a mile is well within her grasp. I don't know how effective she will be farther than that."

* Earlier on Saturday's card, Eibar Coa notched the 3,000th victory of his career aboard Bernie White Shoes ($4) in the third race.