09/28/2001 11:00PM

Lailani beats locals in Flower Bowl


NEW YORK, N.Y. - Lailani made a strong case for favoritism in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf with a dramatic three-quarter of a length victory over favored England's Legend and four others in the Grade 1, $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park on Saturday.

Lailani shipped to Belmont riding high on a six-race winning streak in Great Britain and Ireland for trainer Edward Dunlap and owner Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum. The 3-year-old filly sat four lengths off a solid early pace of :48.16 and 1:12.35 set by England's Legend, who entered the race with a three race winning streak of her own for trainer Christophe Clement, before taking charge in midstretch with an excellent turn-of-foot. England's Legend held on for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Starine who was third.

Lailani has now won three Grade/Group 1 races in a row following victories in the Irish Oaks and Nassau Stakes. The Flower Bowl was her first race with Lasix, and her first race under jockey Jerry Bailey, who picked up the mount from regular rider Frankie Dettori who remained in Europe.

Lailani paid $6.90 to win, and the exacta with England's Legend returned $14.00. She got the 1 1/4-mile distance in a time of 2:01.88 over Belmont's inner turf course which was labeled "good."

Finder's Fee wins Gallant Bloom

Two races before the Flower Bowl, Finder's Fee went from last to first in a four-horse field to win the Grade 2, $129,225 Gallant Bloom Handicap for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Finder's Fee tracked the early pace of Cedar Knolls, the longest shot on the board at 8-1 under Jerry Bailey, before rallying through the stretch for a neck victory. Cedar Knolls held on for second after setting a pace of :22.23, and :45.00 while under heavy pressure from favorite Dat You Miz Blue. Dat You Miz Blue tired to fourth behind Gold Mover, who was third.

Finder's Fee, trained by Shug McGaughey for Ogden Phipps, paid $9.60 to win under jockey John Velazquez.

The 8-5 morning-line favorite, Dream Supreme, was scratched.