05/27/2001 11:00PM

Noses apart

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Channing Way remained undefeated on fast tracks as she outdueled Exquisite Woman by a nose to win the $60,400 Miss California at Bay Meadows.

With regular rider Chance Rollins aboard, Channing Way ($7.20) went up to engage Exquisite Woman shortly after the start, and those two raced as a virtual team the rest of the way through fractions of 22.35 and 44.79 seconds. Exquisite Woman, the 8-5 favorite who was ridden by Russell Baze, stuck her head in front near midstretch, but Channing Way came back, stuck her nose in front, and just kept it there through the final 100 yards, covering six furlongs in 1:09.21.

"She's an awesome filly," Rollins said. "She just refuses to quit."

Baze said "I had enough horse to beat her, but the other horse wanted it more. That was a tough one to lose."

For Channing Way, who won four of her five starts by daylight margins in Arizona (losing only on an off track), it was her second straight nose victory. She had previously won the Melair at Hollywood Park.