Updated on 09/17/2011 11:01PM

Pussycat Doll dominates La Brea Stakes

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Pussycat Doll wins the $250,000 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Pussycat Doll had a furlong left to run in Saturday's $250,000 at Santa Anita when trainer Bob Baffert decided he had seen enough. He started heading toward the winner's circle, watching the filly finish the race as he walked.

"I knew it was over at the eighth pole," Baffert said. "She ran like she'd been training."

Taking advantage of a hysterically fast pace, set by the Baffert-trained My Miss Storm Cat, Pussycat Doll rallied from eighth to win the Grade 1 La Brea by 5 3/4 lengths. Breaking from the outside post, she finished seven furlongs in 1:21.36 over a wet-fast track.

Three fillies led in the stretch. My Miss Storm Cat, who fought with Resident Alien through early fractions of 21.33 and 43.34 seconds, led turning for home, but was overtaken by Leave Me Alone in early stretch. Leave Me Alone rallied from fifth to take the lead, but did not hold it for long.

Pussycat Doll launched a rally at the end of the backstretch under jockey Garrett Gomez, who got an immediate response. Pussycat Doll caught the eye on the turn and flew past the fading pacesetters to challenge Leave Me Alone. Pussycat Doll took the lead nearing the eighth pole before drawing off.

Baffert's premature departure for the winner's circle was noticed by Pussycat Doll's owner-breeder Mike Pegram, who watched from a nearby box. "That gave me the shakes," Pegram said. "I won't do that."

Thrilling Victory, the winner of two spring stakes at Golden Gate Fields in the fall, finished third. Trickle of Gold, who had won six stakes in Delaware and Maryland, finished eighth.

Pegram campaigned Pussycat Doll's sire, 1998 Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet, and dam, Hookedonthefeelin, who won the 1999 La Brea Stakes. Baffert trained both Real Quiet and Hookedonthefeelin.

"To me, it was a big win," Baffert said. "We had the mother and we had Real Quiet."

The field was reduced to 11 with the raceday scratches of Shining Energy, Soldier's Kiss and Three Degrees. The thought of scratching Pussycat Doll crossed Baffert's mind after early afternoon rain, but he decided to run after consulting with jockeys earlier in the day.

Pussycat Doll has won 4 of 8 starts and $320,823. The La Brea win came on the one-year anniversary of her victory in a maiden race. Later in 2005, she won the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar in September and the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes at Hollywood Park in November.

Baffert said he noticed a change in Pussycat Doll during the summer.

"At Del Mar, she just woke up," he said.