12/13/2007 1:00AM

Bully Bones seeks to repeat in Mesa

EmailBully Bones has seen her share of ups and downs. But one constant has been that when she has come to Turf Paradise, things have definitely moved in the "up" direction.

The 4-year-old filly returns again from Southern California to defend her title in Saturday's $45,000 Mesa Handicap. This is no cakewalk, however, as the 6 1/2-furlong main-track event for fillies and mares drew a tough field of seven.

Bully Bones, owned and trained by David La Croix, showed plenty of promise when she began her career in Southern California, including taking the Grade 3 Sorrento at Del Mar in August 2005. She was nowhere in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, however, but was freshened and shipped to Phoenix for the Arizona Juvenile Filly on Dec. 31, 2005. It was a good move. Despite blowing the start, she surged to the early lead and won in a romp by 10 1/2 lengths, earning a heady Beyer Speed Figure of 97. Her schedule has seen frequent interruptions since, but she shipped here for the Cactus Cup Handicap in March 2006 and was second at 3-10. She wasn't seen again until last December and got back on track with a handy win.

Her 2007 form has been spotty - she has run just three times, all in Southern California, her best finish coming when she was second in the Desert Stormer at Hollywood Park in May. She comes here after finishing sixth in the Pine Tree Lane at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meet on Oct. 20. Isiais Enriquez will ride.

Blumin Beauty, owned and trained by Doug Oliver, has blossomed since returning from Canterbury Downs in Minnesota. She rallied to be second in the Phoenix here Oct. 27 and then rallied to win the Excess Energy here Nov. 20. She was most recently third in the Champ Isle here Dec. 4, but that race was at 4 1/2 furlongs on the turf. This is a better distance and surface. Natasha Sisco will ride.

Evening Escort, owned by Jim and Mike Hill and trained by Jim Hill, is capable of big things. In fact, the 4-year-old filly won both her main-track starts here, including taking the Bersid by 6 1/2 lengths on Oct. 28. She dueled and faltered to fourth in the Queen of the Green here Nov. 17, but that came on the turf. This is a better situation for her. Adolfo Morales will be aboard.

Wild English Rose, owned by Double Kee LLC and trained by Jacque Guerra, has won 3 of her last 5, including two stakes at Yavapai Downs in the summer. She romped in an allowance race here Oct. 15 and most recently dueled and finished second as the favorite to Blumin Beauty in the Nov. 20 Excess Energy here.