05/06/2006 12:00AM

Pussycat Doll upsets stablemate in Humana

Email
Horsephotos
Pussycat Doll runs down her stablemate and odds-on favorite Behaving Badly to win the Humana Distaff by one length.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bob Baffert figured to run one-two in Saturday's Grade 1 . The white-haired trainer - and the betting public - just figured it would happen in reverse order than it did.

Pussycat Doll, under Garrett Gomez, came charging between horses in deep stretch to run down her stablemate and odds-on favorite Behaving Badly to win the $291,000 Humana Distaff by one length. It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Bending Strings in third. It was only the third loss in 10 career starts for Behaving Badly, who, according to jockey Victor Espinoza, didn't handle the Churchill Downs main track as well as she has the firmer California tracks.

Behaving Badly maintained a half-length advantage over Bending Strings through fractions of 23.05 seconds and 45.89. Pussycat Doll, who won the Grade 1 La Brea from well off the pace, was a stalking presence, about two lengths off the pace.

Gomez guided Pussycat Doll inside of Behaving Badly turning for home, then came off the rail and split Bending Strings and Behaving Badly to earn the win. Pussycat Doll, a 4-year-old daughter of Real Quiet, covered he seven furlongs in 1:21.62 and returned $10 as the third betting choice.

Malibu Mint stumbled at the start and unseated jockey Julien Leparoux. Neither rider nor horse was injured.

Gomez said he was a little nervous about how well Pussycat Doll would kick in the stretch considering that she had acted a little nervous during the post parade.

"When I asked her about the quarter pole I knew I was pretty much loaded, it was just a matter of if she kicked home all the way through the stretch, [because of] how much energy she used up in the post parade,'' Gomez said.

"I knew I had two good fillies,'' Baffert said. "The track, though, is really drying out and Victor said Behaving Badly was really having trouble with it. . . . She likes a faster track. I think she ran a good race. That's why I brought two - two good ones - it's a Grade 1.''

Baffert wasn't sure where his two fillies would run next, but he mentioned that he would like to keep Pussycat Doll in one-turn races, possibly at Belmont Park.