07/26/2003 12:00AM

Dirty Diana takes CTBA Stakes


DEL MAR, Calif. - Apparently, the real Dirty Diana is an outstanding 2-year-old filly who can run away in the stretch and score impressive wins.

After winning a maiden race by seven lengths at Hollywood Park in April, Dirty Diana finished a well-beaten fifth in the Cinderella Stakes on June 8. She returned in Friday's $125,000 California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes at Del Mar and led throughout to win by 8 1-2 lengths.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Dirty Diana ($6.20) finished 5 1-2 furlongs in 1:03.31, a stakes record.

Dirty Diana was prominent from the start, leading by a length over Smoke Break, the 3-2 favorite. On the turn, Dirty Diana pulled away through fractions of 21.54 and 44.40 seconds.

Champ's Rocket, a maiden making her fifth start, closed from sixth to finish second, 1 1-2 lengths in front of Blowing Bartok. Smoke Break finished fourth in the field of nine California-breds.

Dirty Diana races for Carl Watson and Paul Weitman, who bought her from trainer Roger Stein following the April race and turned her over to trainer Bob Baffert. Stein bred Dirty Diana and owned her when she made her debut.

Baffert fitted Dirty Diana with blinkers for Friday's race and was confident she could rebound from the Cinderella disappointment.

"Last time, she got intimidated on the rail," Baffert said. "I told these guys not to worry. We bought her to run in stakes."