03/11/2006 12:00AM

Healthy Addiction wins Santa Margarita


ARCADIA, Calif. - On a raw, muddy afternoon Saturday, jockey Jon Court came back from the Grade 1, $300,000 looking as if he'd just gone through the wash and spin cycles. He was spotless because both he and his mount, Healthy Addiction, threw mud in the eyes of their rivals while scoring a front-running victory in Santa Anita's biggest race for older fillies and mares.

Healthy Addiction ($19.40) sped right to the front and never looked back. She set swift fractions of 22.03 seconds, 45.40 seconds, and 1:09.61 for the first six furlongs on a sealed, wet-fast track. Proposed, the 2-1 favorite, made a run at her on the far turn and dropped away. Seafree made a bid, too, but could not keep up. Healthy Addiction, meanwhile, kept rolling along, and crossed the wire 1 3/4 lengths in front of Dream of Summer, who closed belatedly to beat Seafree by a half-length for second. Proposed was fourth.

Star Parade, the winner of the Santa Maria Handicap and the 3-1 morning-line favorite, was scratched by trainer Darrell Vienna because of the off track. Hollywood Story also was scratched off the program.

Healthy Addiction completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.18 for her fifth victory in her last seven starts. She had finished first or second in 8 of 9 starts at Santa Anita prior to Saturday, but that one blemish, a fourth-place finish in the Santa Maria, contributed mightily to making her an overlay in the Santa Margarita.

"She had a difficult trip," said her trainer, John Sadler. "She doesn't like being inside. She had to rush, then re-rally. She's best when she's laying second or on the lead."

Court, who replaced Victor Espinoza, sent Healthy Addiction from the start, and was surprised he was able to get a clear lead.

"I thought it would be contested," said Court, who said Healthy Addiction handled the footing "really well."

Healthy Addiction, 5, is a daughter of Boston Harbor. She has now won eight times in 18 starts for owner Pamela Ziebarth, who is the daughter of the late Cecilia Straub-Rubens, the owner of 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow.

Sadler said Healthy Addiction would remain in California for her next races. He said she did not travel well when sent to New York for the Breeders' Cup last October, so he has no interest in shipping to Oaklawn for next month's Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap.