Pussycat Doll May Be Strong La Canada Pick

Pussycat Doll May Be Strong La Canada Pick
Photo: Benoit
Pussycat Doll dominated a muddy La Brea.
Pussycat Doll, coming off powerful grade I victory in the La Brea Stakes (gr. I), could easily stand out among eight 4-year-old fillies entered in Santa Anita's $200,000 La Cañada Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles on Sunday.

Half the field has also been entered in Saturday's Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I).

Pussycat Doll crushed her opposition in the La Brea Dec. 31 at Santa Anita when storming from far back to win the seven-furlong event by 5 ¾ lengths in 1:21 1/5 over a sloppy track at odds of 6-1. She carries a two-race winning streak into the La Brea, previously capturing Hollywood Park's Audrey Skirball Stakes at 1 1/16 miles in November by 6 ¼ lengths.

Garrett Gomez, who accompanied Pussycat Doll in her last two wins, has a return engagement aboard Mike Pegram's daughter of 1998 Kentucky Derby/Preakness champion Real Quiet trained by Bob Baffert. The bay filly's overall record is 4-1-1 in 8 starts for earnings of $320,823. She was assigned 120 pounds and could be a heavy favorite.

Proposed, who dominated the El Encino Stakes (gr. II) on Jan. 15 – the second leg of the La Canada series – is also entered for trainer John Shirreffs. She raced to a 2 ½-length victory as the 9-5 favorite in the El Encino following a five-length triumph in an allowance event over the same 1 1/16-mile distance at Hollywood Park in December.

But Proposed, due to carry high weight of 123 pounds in the La Cañada, also was entered in Saturday's $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles. With regular rider Patrick Valenzuela named to handle Seafree in the La Cañada and his cousin, Fernando, listed as the jockey for Proposed, it seemed likely that the Santa Maria would be the choice of Proposed's connections.

A California-bred daughter of Benchmark owned and bred by Martin and Pam Wygod, Proposed shows a 5-1-2 record in 9 races for earnings of $227,200. The El Encino was her first stakes victory. Shirreffs saddled last year's La Cañada winner, Tarlow.

Like Proposed, Skipping Court, Seafree, and Sharp Lisa were also entered in the Santa Maria.

$200,000 La Cañada Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4 p.m.), 4-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Skipping Court (KY), 116, Kent Desormeaux
2. Shimmer (KY), 116, Victor Espinoza
3. Proposed (CA), 123, Fernando Valenzuela
4. Paddy's Daisy (KY), 118, Alex Solis
5. Pussycat Doll (KY), 120, Garrett Gomez
6. Seafree (KY), 116, Patrick Valenzuela
7. Play Ballado (KY), 118, Edgar Prado
8. Sharp Lisa (KY), 120, Corey Nakatani

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