02/14/2004 1:00AM

Cat Fighter takes La Canada


ARCADIA, Calif. - Cat Fighter, the early pacesetter, fought back in the final furlong after losing the lead to score a surprise win in Saturday's $200,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita.

Cat Fighter led for most of the Grade 2 race over 1 1-8 miles for 4-year-old fillies but was overtaken in early stretch by Fencelineneighbor. In mid-stretch, Fencelineneighbor led by a length, but Cat Fighter rallied on the inside to win by head.

Ridden by Alex Solis, Cat Fighter ($8.80) finished 1 1-8 miles in 1:50.41.

"My filly kept trying and she came back," Solis said. "She was very game today."

Fencelineneighbor finished neck in front of Tangle. Victory Encounter, the 9-5 favorite, finished last in the field of eight.

Cat Fighter has won 3 of 7 starts and $209,8000.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Cat Fighter will be sold at Barretts in Pomona, Calif. on March 2 in a dispersal of horses owned by The Thoroughbred Corp.

Baffert has won numerous stakes for The Thoroughbred Corp, including the Kentucky Derby with War Emblem.

"This is probably the last stakes I'll win for the Thoroughbred Corp," he said. "At least we're going out a winner."