02/23/2006 12:00AM

Behaving Badly looking good


ARCADIA, Calif. - Behaving Badly has developed into the top female sprinter in California this winter. Bettors surely will be expecting no change to that status when Behaving Badly starts as a heavy favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Las Flores Handicap at Santa Anita.

Trained by Bob Baffert for Hal and Patti Earnhardt, has won each of her last two starts by 4 1/2 lengths - an allowance race at six furlongs at Hollywood Park in December and the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap at seven furlongs here on Jan. 29. In the Santa Monica, she led throughout and was in complete control by early stretch.

Baffert said he hopes to start Behaving Badly in the $200,000 Vinery Madison Stakes at seven furlongs at Keeneland on April 12, and needs to give the filly a start in between.

"You don't want to sit on them too long," Baffert said.

The Grade 3 Las Flores is run at six furlongs and has drawn six fillies and mares. Behaving Badly drew the outside post and will carry top weight of 120 pounds.

The outsiders have speed, but have not shown the ability to carry it against top company.

Mazella is making her first start since May. Trained by Jay Robbins, Mazella, 5, finished third in the 2005 Las Flores, losing by 1 1/2 lengths to Miss Terrible after leading in the stretch.

Spirit to Spare is seeking her first stakes win. Trained by Roger Stein, Spirit to Spare won a $50,000 claiming race on a wet-fast track here on Jan. 5 and was sixth in an optional claimer on the hillside turf course two weeks later.

Awesome Lady, who will race near the front, is having a solid winter campaign. Trained by Gary Stute, Awesome Lady won the Monrovia Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs on a wet-fast track on Dec. 31, but was seventh behind Behaving Badly in the Santa Monica after fading badly in the stretch.

Galactic Cat, unraced since being claimed for $50,000 at Churchill Downs in November, and Vaca City Flyer, the winner of two optional claimers at Bay Meadows in recent months, also will start.

They all will have trouble beating Behaving Badly, who has won 5 of 7 starts and $347,200. The 5-year-old mare has made the most of her limited starts.

"We knew she was that good when we first started her, but she had some setbacks," Baffert said.

Lately though, Behaving Badly has been flawless.