03/07/2003 12:00AM

Bare Necessities heads north for breather

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ALBANY, Calif. - The presence of graded stakes winner Bare Necessities in Sunday's $60,000-added Sacramento Handicap at Golden Gate Fields prompts the ageless question, "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?"

The answer is quite simple. With trainer Wally Dollase opting to pass Sunday's Grade 1 Santa Margarita at Santa Anita, the Sacramento is a perfect spot for a filly ready to run. The only other upcoming dirt race for Bare Necessities at Santa Anita is the $75,000-added Santa Lucia at 1 1/16 miles on March 30.

Dollase's daughter, Aimee, doesn't deny that her father may have been looking for an easier spot for Bare Necessities, who most recently finished third in the Grade 2 El Encino and fourth in the Grade 2 La Canada. Both races were won by Got Koko.

"She's run two really hard races," Aimee Dollase said of Bare Necessities. "It's always nice to get a win when you consider what that can do to [a horse's] confidence level."

Bare Necessities, 4, has done well shipping in the past. She beat northern California-based Erica's Smile in the Grade 3, $250,000 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks at Hoosier Park last fall, pulling away late in the mud. She was then nipped at the wire against older horses in the Grade 2, $200,000 Churchill Downs Distaff Handicap.

"She's tough," Dollase said. "She's very honest and consistent. She can pretty much run over anything."

Three other stakes winners were entered in the one-mile Sacramento, most notably Lost at Sea. She captured the $150,000 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows and the Grade 3, $100,000 Singapore Plate at Arlington Park in back-to-back efforts last summer. Lost at Sea also has found an easier spot here after having run in the Grade 1 Gazelle, Grade 1 La Brea, and the Sunshine Millions Distaff in her past three starts.

Bullish Miss and Castling, who came north and won a maiden race two starts back, also have stakes victories.