12/23/2006 12:00AM

Bully Bones returns in style

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The 3-year-old filly Bully Bones, making her first start in nine months, gamely won Saturday's $40,000 Mesa Handicap at Turf Paradise.

The 6 1/2-furlong event for fillies and mares was contested over a track rated good after rains pelted the Phoenix area Friday. Bully Bones, under Luis Hernandez, dueled with pacesetter Vikki's Honor, appeared beaten in midstretch when Vikki’s Honor edged clear by over a length, but kept to her task and rolled by to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Muir Beach, the 6-5 favorite, sat back early, moved nearly abreast of the winner, and ended up up two lengths behind Vikki's Honor.

Bully Bones, owned and trained by David La Croix, covered the distance in 1:16.95 and paid $8. The winner's share of $24,000 pushes her career bankroll to $185,500 from 4 wins in 7 starts.