12/29/2005 12:00AM

Impressive group gathers for La Brea

Benoit & Associates
Pussycat Doll and Garrett Gomez, winning the Audrey Skirball-Kenis, break from post 14 Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The Grade 1 at Santa Anita on Saturday may be the perfect stakes.

The $250,000 race at seven furlongs drew 14 3-year-old fillies, 12 of which are stakes winners. The field includes the Grade 1 winners Leave Me Alone and Sharp Lisa; an improving filly in Pussycat Doll; the established turf fillies Berbatim, Shining Energy, and Three Degrees, who are switching surfaces; and stakes-winning shippers from Maryland and New York who are capable of winning.

The two fillies who have not won stakes - My Miss Storm Cat and Resident Alien - have run races that would make them contenders.

Leave Me Alone will go favored on the basis of her outstanding form during the summer, when she won the Grade 3 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes at Calder and the Grade 1 Test Stakes at seven furlongs at Saratoga.

Under the allowance conditions of the La Brea, Leave Me Alone carries 123 pounds, two to six pounds more than her rivals.

"She's really flourishing," trainer Eric Kruljac said. "She'll have to carry a lot of weight. It looks like a speed-laden race, but we're looking forward to it."

Leave Me Alone is coming off an eighth in the Raven Run Stakes in October at Keeneland, a track Kruljac insists that she did not like. She was rested following that race.

In the last month, Leave Me Alone has worked phenomenally at Santa Anita - three consecutive bullet workouts, including a half-mile in 46.80 seconds on Christmas Eve.

The work that impressed Kruljac was a six-furlong move in 1:12 on Dec. 17, the fastest of 17 works at the distance.

"She was just galloping," he said. "I knew she was back."

Leave Me Alone is one of several fillies in the field with ample speed. She will be challenged early by My Miss Storm Cat, who has not started since winning an allowance race by six lengths at Del Mar in August; Resident Alien, who is making her graded-stakes debut; Soldier's Kiss, who won the Fleet Treat Stakes for statebred fillies at Del Mar in July; and the intriguing Trickle of Gold.

Trained by Michael Gorham, Trickle of Gold has had an outstanding year, winning 6 of 7 starts, including her last six races, at Delaware Park and Laurel.

Trickle of Gold has won races ranging in distance from six furlongs to a mile, leading throughout. In arguably her best performance of the year, she won the Ghost Stakes at six furlongs by 14 1/2 lengths at Delaware Park on Oct. 31.

Bob Baffert has two starters - My Miss Storm Cat and the stalker Pussycat Doll, who also had three bullet workouts in December. Pussycat Doll is seeking her third stakes win of 2005.

There are plenty of closers who would benefit from a quick pace.

Sharp Lisa is seeking her first win since the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at a mile here in February. She is best as a stalker.

Berbatim, Shining Energy, and Three Degrees, all stakes winners on turf, have shown a strong turn of foot. Of those three, only Berbatim is a stakes winner on dirt, having captured a minor race at Canterbury Park in July 2004.

New York-based trainer Michael Hushion has two starters for Barry Schwartz - the stakes winners Great Intentions and Mystic Chant. Both are likely to be near the front early, although Great Intentions seems best as a stalker.

Great Intentions has won three consecutive starts, including a three-length win against older fillies and mares in the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap at seven furlongs at Belmont Park on Oct. 30.

Great Intentions was sick in November, but has worked steadily this month.

Hushion said that Great Intentions's record demands respect, saying, "You would have to think they have to look at us and say, 'Wow.' "

His theory will be well tested in Saturday's La Brea.

- additional reporting by David Grening

The field

La Brea
Purse: $250,000; 7 furlongs ; Grade 1

1Sharp LisaC. Nakatani1215-1
2My Miss Storm CatP. Valenzuela11710-1
3Simply BecauseD. Flores11720-1
4Three DegreesA. Solis11912-1
5BerbatimT. Baze11920-1
6Resident AlienV. Espinoza11715-1
7a-Great IntentionsJ. Court119 9-2
8Shining Energy T. Farina11920-1
9Trickle of GoldJ. Rose1198-1
10a-Mystic ChantJ. Valdivia Jr.1199-2
11Thrilling VictoryM. Pedroza11930-1
12Soldier's KissD. Cohen11930-1
13Leave Me AloneK. Desormeaux1233-1
14Pussycat DollG. Gomez1199-2

* a-coupled; odds by Michael Hammersly