06/05/2005 11:00PM

Melhor Ainda stays perfect in Sands Point


Now that Melhor Ainda confirmed her status as the top 3-year-old grass filly in the East, she will tackle the West Coast in her next start.

Melhor Ainda easily dismissed six rivals in Sunday's Grade 3, $111,200 , drawing clear to a 2 3/4-length victory over Laurafina at Belmont Park. It was 1 1/2 lengths back to My Typhoon in third.

It was the fourth victory in as many starts for Melhor Ainda, who will next ship to Southern California for the $750,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 3. There she will face Three Degrees, who set a stakes record winning the Grade 2 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood on Sunday.

"We haven't got to where she hasn't fired," trainer Bobby Frankel said. "I just hope we can beat that filly in California."

Under John Velazquez, Melhor Ainda settled into fifth position early while about four lengths off the early pace set by My Typhoon. Approaching the top of the stretch, Velazquez found room inside of Paddy's Daisy and quickly took Melhor Ainda off the hedge for the stretch drive. Melhor Ainda ran past My Typhoon in upper stretch and drew clear under a vigorous hand ride.

Melhor Ainda, a daughter of Pulpit owned by T N T Stud, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.50 over firm turf and returned $2.80 to win.