02/02/2008 12:00AM

Marina Ballerina proves uncatchable

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Marina Ballerina ($19) opened up a 1 1/2-length lead in the opening six furlongs of the $65,000 Manatee Stakes, then had enough left to hold off the late charge of Meredith Bee to prevail by a length in the seven-furlong feature for older fillies and mares at Tampa Bay Downs.

Under Pedro Cotto Jr., Marina Ballerina went a half-mile in 45.19 seconds and was still comfortably in front after six furlongs in 1:10.47 but was fully extended as Meredith Bee closed fast along the outside. The winner completed the distance in 1:24.22.

It was the fifth win in 15 career starts for Marina Ballerina, who is trained by Steve Margolis.