09/21/2002 12:00AM

Meadowlands: Babae takes Violet

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Trainer Frank Alexander chose to run Babae in Friday night's Grade 3 Violet Handicap at The Meadowlands rather than Saturday's Noble Damsel at Belmont Park, partly because of the $150,000 purse, but also because he knew jockey Jorge Chavez would accept the mount.

Alexander knew what he was doing.

Babae ($6.40), beaten in her last two starts in New York, wore down pacesetter Platinium Tiara and drew off to a three-length win.

"I brought her here because there was more money and Jorge could ride her here," Alexander said. "He knows her well and is able to get her to relax."

Chavez could not have ridden Babae on Saturday because he was at Louisiana Downs to ride Essence of Dubai to a win in the Super Derby.

Babae, a 6-year-old mare, covered 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.17. It was her 13th win in 38 starts and raised her career earnings to $674,314.

Alexander said Babae is likely to make her next start in the Athenia at Aqueduct on Nov. 9.

* In the $50,000 John Henry Stakes, River Rush ($6.20) scored a front-running half-length victory over 17-1 longshot American Freedom. The 4-year-old River Rush, trained by Lisa Lewis and ridden by Richard Migliore, was timed in 1:39.16 for a mile and 70 yards on turf.