02/04/2004 1:00AM

Santa Catarina retired to breed

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Santa Catarina, one of the top 3-year-old fillies of 2003, has been retired and sent to Kentucky, where she will be bred to A.P. Indy, trainer Bob Baffert said.

Santa Catarina left Baffert's stable at Santa Anita in mid-January. Owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, Santa Catarina won 3 of 10 starts and $645,260. Her lone stakes win came in the Grade 2 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks last summer, the next-to-last start of her career. She finished fourth in the American Oaks last July in her final start.

Santa Catarina was being prepared for a comeback when the decision was made to retire her, Baffert said.

Purchased for $950,000 as a yearling, Santa Catarina placed in five stakes. At 2, she was second in the Frizette and Del Mar Debutante and third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Last year, she was second in the Kentucky Oaks and third in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

Santa Catarina, 4, may be sold at auction in November.