07/05/2007 12:00AM

Snowdrop handles Bai and Bai at Alameda


Snowdrop ($25.40) was hustled to the lead, controlled the pace nicely, and pulled away in the lane despite lugging out as she captured the $50,390 Alameda County Fillies and Mares Handicap at the Alameda County Fair on Wednesday.

With odds-on Bai and Bai sitting in a stalking position, Snowdrop maintained a one-length margin down the backstretch. When Bai and Bai tried to make a move on the turn, Snowdrop's jockey, Roberto Gonzalez - who had ridden Bai and Bai in all her previous starts - asked Snowdrop for a quick move.

The 4-year-old filly quickly opened a five-length lead into the stretch, which she extended to seven at the wire despite lugging out down the lane. Winning time for the 1 1/16-mile race was 1:42.66. Bai and Bai was 2 1/2 lengths in front of Gentle Charmer.

"I asked my filly because I didn't want to wait until Bai and Bai got head and head with us, because I know how game Bai and Bai is," said Gonzalez, who had five victories on the day.

Winning trainer Gil Matos felt that Snowdrop's chances were helped when Thrill After Dark took a bad step and was pulled up on the first turn, carrying Truly Quiet, the other speed in the race, out wide.

"Thrill After Dark not going helped a lot," Matos said. "It looked like Bobby just sat and sat. When Bai and Bai moved up on the turn, I didn't know how much my filly had left. I was hoping Bobby had saved something."

The victory was Snowdrop's first stakes win. She earned $27,630 for M.A. Douzos and Ron Stolich, running her career record to 15-3-2-5 and earnings to $134,333.