11/11/2002 12:00AM

Team Babae wants millionaire status


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - She's dependable.

Babae's class is evidenced by her consistency.

She can't win them all, but the Chilean import Babae can usually run a good race no matter the competition.

At Saratoga this summer, she caught a brilliant field in the Diana Handicap. Tates Creek nosed out Voodoo Dancer in one of the season's best races, with Babae only a length farther back. The competition wasn't quite as strong in Saturday's $116,700 Athenia Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf course, and Babae, the 8-5 favorite, was a fairly decisive winner under Jorge Chavez.

Babae, who won a division of the Athenia last fall, has earned just under $750,000, most of that in the U.S., where she arrived in December of 2000. She is owned by Joseph P. Platt Jr., a retired insurance executive from Pittsburgh.

Platt has a friend who breeds horses in Chile. When he phoned to recommend Babae, Platt and trainer Frank Alexander flew to inspect her. They liked what they saw and have had few occasions to regret the decision.

"She is a lovely filly," Alexander said. "She always gives you her best. We plan to race her next year in an effort to make her a millionaire, and she will probably make her next start at Calder in the My Charmer Stakes on Dec. 7."

The 6-year-old Babae is by a Mr. Prospector sire, Barkerville.

Alexander feels she is at her best from a mile to 1 1/16 miles, but her generosity and determination will enable her to be effective and will enable her to be effective up to nine furlongs.

Jerkens going strong this fall

Haggs Castle got a realistic pace up front and finished strongly to capture Sunday's $100,000 Cormorant Stakes at a mile on the turf course. It was another stakes victory for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, whose stable is enjoying an outstanding fall campaign.

In recent weeks, Jerkens saddled Regal Sanction to win the $350,000 Pegasus Handicap at The Meadowlands, won the Iroquois Handicap on the New York Showcase program with the speedy Dat You Miz Blue, won the Sport Page Handicap with Multiple Choice, and won the Stuyvesant Handicap with Snake Mountain.

Haggs Castle, a 4-year-old gelding by Husband, has no early speed but can produce a strong finish if there is a realistic pace. He got a good pace on a yielding turf course in the Cormorant and won by almost three lengths.

Another highlight of Sunday's program was the six-length victory of Beautiful America in the Fifth Avenue Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs. Beautiful America, favored at 2-5, was recording her fourth victory in five starts. Her lone defeat came in the News York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes against colts. Owned by Chester and Mary Broman, Beautiful America impresses as a genuine runner and we will be following her career with interest when she competes in open competition.

There are no immediate plans for Beautiful America, but trainer Ramon Hernandez said that several options are being considered.