11/19/2004 12:00AM

No Bull Baby has score to settle


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Horseplayers face a variety of challenges Sunday at Hollywood Park, where eight juvenile fillies sprint seven furlongs in the $100,000 Moccasin Stakes.

With division leader Sweet Catomine awaiting the Santa Anita winter meet, the Moccasin shapes up as an interesting handicapping puzzle with ramifications into next month's Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet.

The field for the Moccasin includes the Anoakia Stakes winner and runner-up, Hello Lucky and No Bull Baby; impressive maiden winner Northern Mischief; California-bred stakes winner Short Route; and Island Escape, Swift Wings, She's a Jewel, and Bertha Jo.

Hello Lucky won the Anoakia on Oct. 24, but she may not even have been the best filly in the race. Trained by Chris Paasch, Hello Lucky benefited from a pronounced rail bias that day and exploited the advantage to win by three-quarters of a length. The race earned an 89 Beyer, well above the 84 Beyer that typically is required to win the Moccasin.

It was the third win in six starts for Hello Lucky, but she was fortunate because No Bull Baby ran better while compromised by the bias. Wide throughout, No Bull Baby finished five lengths clear of third and earned an 87 Beyer. It marked a return to form for No Bull Baby, who lost by 21 and 17 3/4 lengths in two previous starts against better.

The inside bias Oct. 24 also flattered Northern Mischief, who rode the golden rail to a 10-1 maiden upset, earning a 76 Beyer. Northern Mischief has raced only three times and worked super since her last for trainer Ron McAnally.

Northern Mischief benefits from an outside post and also may be the beneficiary of a speed duel up front.

Moccasin starter She's a Jewel ran terribly at 8-5 in the Anoakia, partly because wet weather interrupted her training. While her five-length maiden victory one start back earned an

81 Beyer, she makes only her fourth start Sunday, has trained well since she last raced, and enters fit and ready for trainer Vladimir Cerin. Her two works since the Anoakia include a bullet move Nov. 13 in 58.20 seconds. Drawn outside Hello Lucky, She's a Jewel will keep the pace honest.

The most likely winner is No Bull Baby, who is trained by Bob Baffert and has won 1 of 4 for owner-breeders Hal and Patti Earnhardt.