01/28/2007 12:00AM

Perfect trip for Pussycat Doll


ARCADIA, Calif. - From the time Pussycat Doll left the paddock before Sunday’s $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap until she arrived in the winner’s circle, trainer Bob Baffert’s confidence never wavered.

Baffert raved about Pussycat Doll’s condition before the race, and then watched her get a perfect trip under jockey Garrett Gomez.

“I had a feeling she had them over the barrel,” Baffert said. “She’s s very good mare.”

Pussycat Doll ($4.20) stalked a five-way speed duel, took the lead in the final furlong and was eased down when she crossed the wire four lengths clear of Nossa Cancao, a 37-1 outsider.

Secret Scheme, who fought for the early lead with Win McCool, Indian Flare, Gins Majesty and Maryfield through a quick pace of 22 and 44.08 seconds, held third in the field of 10 fillies and mares.

“She was in a good spot and when I saw the 44 flat I thought it would suit her,” Baffert said. “She wants to sit back and make one run.”

Pussycat Doll ran seven furlongs in 1:22.32.

Pussycat Doll won her third Grade 1 race in the Santa Monica, her first start since a win in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs last May. Baffert said that Pussycat Doll was not injured after that race but came out of the race "worn out."

Owned by breeder Mike Pegram, Pussycat Doll, 5, won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes here in 2005. She has won 6 of 11 starts and $657,831.

* Attima won her third stakes in the last year in the $81,100 Wishing Well Handicap, her first start since finishing ninth in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 26.

Attima ($6.60) stalked the pace, took the lead in early stretch and won by 1 3-4 lengths over Somethingaboutbetty. Wild Storm finished third in the field of fillies and mares.

Attima ran about 6 1-2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in 1:12.62 and was ridden by Victor Espinoza.

Last year, Attima, 4, won the Honeymoon Breeders’ Cup and San Clemente handicaps.