10/27/2004 11:00PM

Paddy's Daisy best in Jessamine County Stakes

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Paddy's Daisy, favored at 1-2 odds in Thursday's $112,600 Jessamine County Stakes at Keeneland, made her backers sweat, but ultimately prevailed by a half-length over 42-1 shot Berbatim.

Confidently ridden by John Velazquez, the leading money-earning jockey in North America, Paddy's Daisy stalked the pace in fourth for much of the race, while always under a firm hold. She advanced wide on the second turn to tackle the leaders, and gradually inched past the pacesetting Berbatim through the stretch.

The winner, a 2-year-old daughter of King Of Kings trained by Todd Pletcher, raced 1 1/16 miles on a yielding turf course in 1:44.33, paying $3. She improved her record to three-for-five and her earnings to $141,336 for Stonehaven Farm.

Runner-up Berbatim, winner of the Canterbury Lassie in July, was game in defeat. After setting fractions of 47.65 and 1:13.61 over the rain-soaked course, she fought bravely through the lane, finishing 5.75 lengths in front of third-place Jules Best.

"She had more left in her than I thought," said Velazquez. "She gave me a good fight to the wire."