05/05/2007 12:00AM

Hystericalady surprises in Humana

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For the second year in a row, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer won a graded stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard when Hystericalady rallied to a surprisingly easy four-length victory over defending champion Pussycat Doll in the $300,000 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs. The victory was the fourth on the afternoon for jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Hollendorfer, who saddled Bwana Bull in the Kentucky Derby, won the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap last year with Trickey Trevor.

Hystericalady, a 4-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor, benefited from a perfect ride by Bejarano, who had her positioned off the pacesetter Shaggy Mane over a track upgraded from good to fast an hour earlier. Hystericalady readily overtook the tiring leader inside the sixteenth pole and gradually pulled away to her sixth victory in 10 career starts and first in a Grade 1. She finished off the board in each of her four losses.

Pussycat Doll, the even-money favorite, was shuffled back near the rear of the pack while racing along the inside in the run down the backstretch of the seven-furlong dash. By the time she wheeled outside for clearance at the head of the stretch, Hystericalady was long gone. Pussycat Doll, who defeated stablemate Behaving Badly to win the 2006 Humana Distaff, did finish willingly down the middle of the track. The wide-running Carriage Trail caught Shaggy Mane in the final stride for third.

Hystericalady is owned by Rancho San Miguel, George Todaro, and Hollendorfer. She completed seven furlongs in 1:21.87 and paid $17.20.

"We had pointed to this race for a while," said Hollendorfer. "She trained well on this track and I was hoping she would come in and do her thing. We decided to have her lay back a little off the pace today, which had me worried because she prefers to be on the pace. But Rafael is a very confident rider, and he rode a very good race."

Hollendorfer said he has no plans yet for Hystericalady's next start, but that he would like to run her in the Breeders' Cup in October.

"I'm not sure where she'll go next, but I'd like to be around with her in the fall, so we'll go back and plan a course of action to get us there," he said.