12/30/2006 12:00AM

Breakthrough win for Downthedustyroad


ARCADIA, Calif. – Downthedustyroad finally ran a complete race on Saturday, picking the ideal time to score the most convincing win of her career.

Making her debut in a Grade 1, Downthedustyroad won the $250,000 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita by 4 1/4 lengths. Ridden by Jon Court, Downthedustyroad ($9) was always near the front and pulled clear late, finishing seven furlongs in 1:21.40.

“She had something left,” Court said.

That has not always been the case. In some of her races, Downthedustyroad had led early but faded through the stretch.

Downthedustyroad fought for the early lead with Diplomat Lady and River’s Prayer through quick fractions of 21.94 and 43.90 seconds. In early stretch, Downthedustyroad put away those two rivals. Diplomat Lady and River’s Prayer faded to finish in the last two positions in the field of nine 3-year-old fillies.

Squallacious, making her first start since June, rallied from eighth to finish second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Balance, a two-time Grade 1 winner who was making her first start since May. Balance was the 5-2 favorite.

The victory left owner Zayat Stable and trainer Bob Baffert facing questions about Downthedustyroad’s future. The filly is entered in the Keeneland January breeding stock sale. Baffert said that “plans are up in the air” over whether Downthedustyroad will be sold.

Downthedustyroad has won 4 of 10 starts and $282,050. The La Brea was her first stakes win and ended a streak of four second- or third-place finishes in stakes, including the Grade 2 Lady’s Secret Breeders’ Cup Handicap here in October.

* Earlier in the day, Kolo won his stakes debut in the $82,450 Eddie Logan Stakes on turf.

Ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Kolo ($9.40) was always near the front, stalking pacesetter Law Breaker. Kolo took the lead in the final sixteenth and held off 41-1 Mystery Island, who finished a nose in front of Law Breaker in the field of 10 2-year-olds. Kolo ran a mile in 1:37.52.

Owned by Keith Brackpool, Kolo has won 2 of 4 starts and $75,500. He won a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on Dec. 14. He is likely to run on dirt in his next start, said trainer Carla Gaines.

Mystery Island suffered a severe injury to his right foreleg after the race and was euthanized, according to track stewards.