08/31/2001 11:00PM

River Downs: Local filly scores

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CINCINNATI - In a field full of highly regarded shippers, it was a local filly, Joanies Bella, who stole the show in the $100,000 Bassinet Stakes at River Downs.

Ridden by Craig Perret, who was making his first-ever appearance at River in a career of over 30 years, Joanies Bella took command on the turn of the six-furlong Bassinet, then turned back the 6-5 favorite, Lakeside Cup, to prevail by 2 1/4 lengths.

Joanies Bella, an Ohio-bred by Mercer Mill, returned $6.80 as third choice in a field of eight 2-year-old fillies. Mystery at Sea, one of five starters based at Churchill Downs, finished third, another five lengths back. Bema, the 2-1 second choice under Shane Sellers, was never a serious threat when finishing fifth.

Joanies Bella, now a winner in three of six starts, is owned by Dan Martin and Gerald Ayers.

"We'll look at the Arlington-Washington Lassie as a possible next start," said winning trainer Tim Hamm, who is based at Thistledown. "Then there are always some Ohio spots."

Longshot Jamac's Prospect led early, tracked closely by Joanies Bella, with Lakeside Cup tucked in nicely in third. Hamm told Perret "that if I could get her to relax, she'd do some running for me," said Perret. "That's what she did."

Joanies Bella finished in 1:12.20 over a fast track to earn easily her richest payday of $60,000.

The Bassinet, one of River's premier races, was won last year by eventual divisional champion Caressing.