10/24/2003 11:00PM

Outside post no problem for Halfbridled

Halfbridled caps a perfect season with a win in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies. Her jockey, Julie Krone, became the first female rider to win a Breeders' Cup race.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Richard Mandella has said for three months that he felt Halfbridled was a special filly. On Saturday, Halfbridled showed the world just how special she is.

Overcoming the treacherous 14 post at Santa Anita, Halfbridled capped an undefeated season (4 for 4) and cemented a division championship by rolling to a 2 1/2-length victory in the $1 million .

Ashado rallied past Victory U. S. A. in the final strides to get second by a neck.

Halfbridled's jockey, Julie Krone, became the first female rider to win a Breeders' Cup race. She had been 0 for 14 in the Breeders' Cup and had not ridden in the event since 1995. Krone is also the only woman to have won a Triple Crown race, taking the 1993 Belmont Stakes with Colonial Affair.

For Krone, 40, the victory comes less than a year after her return following a 3 1/2-year retirement. Krone, the only woman rider in the Hall of Fame, downplayed the significance of that.

"The everyday of being around the race horses is what's special for me," Krone said.

For Mandella, the victory came 10 years after he won the Juvenile Fillies with Phone Chatter, also at Santa Anita. For brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, who race under the banner Wertheimer Farm, the victory came 10 years after they won the Breeders' Cup Turf with Kotashaan, who was named Horse of the Year.

Halfbridled, a daughter of Unbridled, added the Juvenile Fillies to a resume that includes wins in the Del Mar Debutante and Oak Leaf Stakes.

For weeks leading up to the Breeders' Cup, many believed Halfbridled would be the shortest-priced favorite on the card. But when she drew post 14, some handicappers felt that could compromise her chances, which is why she went off at 2-1. Halfbridled returned $6.60 to win.

Any worries about the outside draw were quickly eliminated when Halfbridled "leapt" out of the starting gate, according to Krone, and ran in the four path entering the first turn.

"I was very happy to be four wide," Krone said. "From then on I can honestly say I did a lot more pulling than I did pushing. Each time someone pegged her, she's done what she's done in the past and tenaciously answered every question I asked."

Halfbridled was third entering the far turn and emerged with the lead approaching the quarter pole. Ashado, the Spinaway winner, was to her outside under John Velazquez, and Victory U. S. A. was to her inside under Jerry Bailey. Though Halfbridled pricked her ears turning for home, she got serious when it mattered and drew away late. She covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.75.

"She was like, 'When are we going to start running?' " said Krone. "And I said, 'Now would be nice.' "

Mandella gave credit to Krone for being cool under fire, but he also had praise for his filly.

"I'll stick with the word I've chosen from the start - she's pretty special," Mandella said. "It took a pretty special horse to do that."