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‘Doll punctuates Baffert’s day

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Times Staff Writer

Twenty-eight years to the day after he won his first thoroughbred race as a trainer, Bob Baffert won a much more lucrative event Sunday at Santa Anita.

Baffert, who collected his first victory Jan. 28, 1979, in a race with a purse of $600 at Rillito Park in Tucson, won the $150,000 Santa Monica Handicap with favored Pussycat Doll.

Making her first start since winning the Humana Distaff on May 6 at Churchill Downs, the 5-year-old Real Quiet mare added another Grade I victory to her resume with a four-length win under Garrett Gomez.

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Now a three-time Grade I stakes winner -- besides the Humana Distaff, she also won the 2005 La Brea at Santa Anita -- for owner-breeder Mike Pegram, Pussycat Doll ran the seven furlongs in 1:22.32 for her sixth victory in 11 starts.

“She’s just a very good mare,” said Baffert, who also won last year’s Santa Monica with Behaving Badly. “She looked really fantastic in the paddock. She was in a good spot down the backstretch and when I saw 44 flat [44.08 for the half mile] I thought it should suit her fine.”

Nossa Cancao, the third longest shot in the field of 10 at 37-1, finished second in her final career start and 13-1 outsider Secret Scheme was third.

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Making her first start since finishing ninth in the Matriarch two months ago at Hollywood Park, Attima, the 2-1 favorite, enjoyed her first trip down the hillside turf course at Santa Anita, winning the $81,100 Wishing Well Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths.

The victory was the fifth in 12 starts for the 4-year-old Zafonic filly, who is owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino and is trained by Julio Canani. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, she ran the about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:12.62.

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Bwana Bull, one of three 3-year-olds trainer Jerry Hollendorfer started in the race, won the $150,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

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David Lopez picked up the mount on the son of Holy Bull after Russell Baze was involved in a spill one race earlier and took off his final two mounts on the card. The victory was the third in seven starts for Bwana Bull, who is owned by a partnership.

Favored Boutros was a troubled second under Kent Desormeaux.

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Ramazutti, a 9-1 shot who failed to win in 10 starts in 2006, scored in his first start of the new year, winning the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

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Carminooch, the 9-5 favorite, was up to beat Successful Appeal by a head to win the $65,950 Proud Appeal at Aqueduct.

The win was the sixth in 17 starts for the 5-year-old Tomorrows Cat horse, who is owned by Three Amigos Stables and trained by Seth Benzel.

The final time for the 1 1/4 miles was 2:03.87.

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Trainer Jennie Green was fined $750 by Santa Anita stewards Scott Chaney, Albert Christiansen and Tom Ward after two of her horses tested positive for excess levels of methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant.

The two horses who tested positive were Top One, who finished second in the fifth race Dec. 28 and Getnhotnhere, who finished second in the first Jan. 6.

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The stewards also suspended Espinoza for three days, beginning Saturday, for “failure to maintain a straight course and causing interference” while riding Trick a Cat in the fourth race Friday.

Trick a Cat finished second as the favorite in the turf race, but was not disqualified.

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bob.mieszerski@latimes.com

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