12/23/2009 12:00AM

Gabby's Golden Gal fresh for La Brea

Barbara D. Livingston
Gabby's Golden Gal is one of nine 3-year-old fillies entered in the Grade 1 La Brea, the opening-day feature Saturday at Santa Anita. She has not raced since finishing last of nine in the Prioress Stakes on July 4.

ARCADIA, Calif. - It has been nearly six months since Gabby's Golden Gal last raced, and though her recent works were quite sharp, there was one more test for her to pass Tuesday morning before being entered in La Brea Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita.

"I'm going to work her right now," trainer Bob Baffert said during the renovation break. "If she works well, she goes."

A few minutes later, Gabby's Golden Gal worked a half-mile in 47 seconds under former jockey Joe Steiner.

"Beautiful," Baffert said as she crossed the wire. "I'm going to enter her. She's doing awesome."

The $300,000 La Brea is the 3-year-old filly counterpart to the featured race on opening day, the Malibu Stakes. Both are Grade 1 races over seven furlongs. The distance should be ideal for Gabby's Golden Gal, who won the one-mile Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park in June, but the race came up deep, with 11 others. Gabby's Golden Gal has to carry top weight of 123 pounds; she will spot her rivals anywhere from 4 to 8 pounds.

Gabby's Golden Gal has not raced since finishing last of nine in the Prioress Stakes on July 4 after stumbling at the start.

"She pulled a shoe off, and her foot was sore; she took a chunk out of the foot," Baffert said. "I sent her to Saratoga, because I wanted to run her in the Test, but she wasn't going to make it, so I just decided to freshen her up."

Baffert also entered Mother Ruth, who will be making her graded stakes debut.

Gabby's Golden Gal should be part of a lively pace. Amazed by Grace and Kays and Jays, like Gabby's Golden Gal, have sharp speed.

Amazed by Grace has won five straight at Charles Town and Philadelphia Park. Kays and Jays won the Cascapedia here as the favorite during the Oak Tree meeting. She should be one of the betting favorites, but she drew the rail.

If the fractions are quick, that could set things up for late runners such as Evita Argentina, Pinkarella, and Dani Reese, a live longshot.

Dani Reese had been on or near the lead in her first three starts. But after stumbling at the break in her last race, she was forced to rally from behind. She finished furiously to score for the third time in four races.

"It was real impressive, the fact that she relaxed off the pace," said Dan Hendricks, who trains Dani Reese. "We're kind of throwing her to the wolves this time, but you only get one chance a year out here to run in a Grade 1 sprint against 3-year-old fillies."

Evita Argentina beat males in the San Vicente here in the spring. She was seventh in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in her last start. Pinkarella returned from an eight-month layoff to easily beat allowance runners at Hollywood Park four weeks ago.