08/17/2002 11:00PM

Ninebanks captures San Matean

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Ninebanks ($8.80) sat in perfect stalking position while a bit wide down the backstretch, stayed in the clear and was a 1 1/2-length winner of the $53,700 San Matean Handicap at the Bay Meadows Fair on Sunday.

Ninebanks sat behind Dr. Park and Suspicious Minds early and let Suspicious Minds take over in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile turf race before jockey Ron Warren turned him loose. He rallied well, beating Suspicious Minds by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:42.10.

"I ride him every day, and things have to be right for him. He's a hard horse to ride," said Joe Jacot, who saddled Ninebanks for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. "You need a rider who really knows him. You need to keep him into the bit."

Warren said Ninebanks seemed to drift out of contention down the backstretch so he moved his hands up to get the horse into the bit better as Jacot had urged.

"I've never had anyone explain anything so well and be so accurate," Warren said. "I took a high cross, and he began to lean forward. I switched him outside so I didn't get stopped."

Ninebanks, a $50,000 claim last Aug. 3, has won six of 21 starts and $211,593.