08/03/2007 11:00PM

Precious Kitten takes Mabee


DEL MAR, Calif. - Jockey Rafael Bejarano had Saturday's $400,000 John Mabee Handicap at Del Mar figured out from the start.

Bejarano guided his mount, Precious Kitten, into a stalking position behind Dancing Edie in the first few strides of the Grade 1 turf race, a strategy that led to an ideal trip. Precious Kitten, who was expected to be near the front, rallied three wide on the final turn to take the lead in the stretch before pulling away to score the most prestigious victory of her 15-race career.

In the paddock, Bejarano told Humberto Ascanio, assistant to trainer Bobby Frankel, of his plans, which Ascanio greeted enthusiastically. "He had a good hold of her," Ascanio said.

Precious Kitten ($3.40) finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of Dancing Edie, with Memorette a nose behind in third in the field of five fillies and mares. Precious Kitten, 4, ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46.34.

Precious Kitten was Frankel's only starter. Price Tag, the morning-line favorite, was scratched early Saturday because of a bout with colic.

Precious Kitten has won 5 of 15 starts and $889,688 for owner-breeders Sarah and Kenneth Ramsey. The Mabee was the fourth stakes win of her career.