07/02/2003 12:00AM

Ocean Drive wins Gaviola


ELMONT, N.Y. - Ocean Drive won the fourth stakes of her career in Wednesday's $65,750 Gaviola at Belmont Park.

Ocean Drive, the 1-2 favorite in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies, defeated Beautiful America by 1 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile grass race.

Ridden by Jerry Bailey, Ocean Drive assumed a cozy position behind the early leaders down the backstretch and launched an outside move to reach the leaders at the quarter pole. She drew clear with a furlong remaining.

Beautiful America, a New York-bred champion who was making her grass debut, finished a neck in front of the third-place finisher, Broadway Lady. Completing the order of finish were Mariakel, Bella Tusa, One and Twenty, and Lady Prantlack.

Ocean Drive ($3.10) covered the distance over a firm course in 1:42.06.

Trained by the meet's leading trainer, Todd Pletcher, and owned by Sy and Bonnie Baskin, Ocean Drive won the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland in April in her only other start this year. Last year, she won the Salem County at The Meadowlands and the Green River at Keeneland. Her only loss in six lifetime starts came in the Grade 3 Miesque at Hollywood Park in November when she finished fourth.

Pletcher plans on running Ocean Drive, a daughter of Belong to Me, back in the $100,000-added Lake George at Saratoga July 28. The Grade 3 Lake George is a 1 1/16-mile grass race.