07/24/2004 12:00AM

Musical Chimes captures John Mabee

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Musical Chimes sets a stakes record, finishing 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.09 in the John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar on Saturday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Kent Desormeaux peeked over his right shoulder three times as he reached a contending position in early stretch aboard Musical Chimes in Saturday's $400,000 at Del Mar.

Desormeaux was waiting for the expected challenge from Light Jig, the 7-5 favorite.

The rally from Light Jig never occurred, and may not have been a factor the way Musical Chimes reached the front.

Without being struck by a whip, Musical Chimes pulled clear to win the Grade 1 Mabee by 1 1-4 lengths over Moscow Burning.

"I just held on from the sixteenth pole," Desormeaux said. "I thought she had an enormous turn of foot. Being part of her workout sessions, I knew she could do it."

Trained by Neil Drysdale for Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum, Musical Chimes ($6.20) set a stakes record, finishing 1 1-8 miles on turf in 1:47.09.

Moscow Burning finished a nose in front of Notting Hill, a 21-1 shot who set the pace. Dimitrova (the 120-pound starting highweight), Katdogawn and Light Jig completed the order of finish.

Light Jig, who won the Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park in late June, was never a factor, finishing four lengths behind Musical Chimes.

The first two finishers will be pointed for the $750,000 Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 14.

Musical Chimes has won 3 of 14 starts and $766,989. The Mabee was her first victory since the 2003 French 1000 Guineas and came in her sixth start in the U.S.

Earlier this year, Musical Chimes finished second in an allowance race and seventh against males in the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park.

"We got off on the wrong foot with her this year but it looks like we're back in business," Drysdale said.

*Western Hemisphere won her first stakes in the $100,000 Fleet Treat Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies, rallying from ninth under a confident ride from Corey Nakatani.

Sent off as the 7-10 favorite, Western Hemisphere won by two lengths over Alphabet Kises, finishing seven furlongs in 1:22.78. Marie's Rose finished third in the field of nine.

Owned by Golden Eagle Farm and trained by Bob Baffert, Western Hemisphere has won 3 of 7 starts and $244,465.