10/16/2007 11:00PM

Buzzards Bay auditioning for Clark Handicap

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Had the season gone as planned, Buzzards Bay would be among the pre-entries for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27.

Instead, the millionaire 5-year-old is entered in a $54,000 allowance race at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting on Friday. An illness during the Del Mar meeting ruined Buzzards Bay's Breeders' Cup plan. The new goal is the $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23.

First, however, is Friday's allowance race over 1 1/16 miles, which is a must-win race, according to trainer Ron Ellis.

"He'd have to beat that field for us to go on to the Clark," Ellis said. "I hope he can win impressively, and we can go. Hopefully, he springs back to where we were in the summer."

Owned by Gary Broad, Buzzards Bay has 1 victory in 3 starts this year. He was a troubled third in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap in May, won the Grade 2 Californian Stakes on June 2, and then was eighth in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 21. Ellis believes that Buzzards Bay did not handle Del Mar's Polytrack surface.

Buzzards Bay was entered for the Windy Sands Handicap at Del Mar on Sept. 3, but was scratched after a poor blood test, Ellis said.

"His blood work was not where I would like it," Ellis said. "Whatever went wrong at Del Mar, whether he was a little sick or didn't handle the Polytrack, when I would ship him to Del Mar, he acted lethargic."

Since returning to Ellis's base at Hollywood Park, Buzzards Bay has worked well, showing quick works from mid-September through early October. Ellis is hoping that that form translates to a victory against four rivals on Friday.

"I think he's as good as I've had him," Ellis said.

Siren Lure, a winner of 12 of 27 starts and $846,394, is stretching out after racing in top sprints in the last year. He was a disappointing fourth as the 8-5 favorite in the Blue Jay Way Stakes on the hillside turf course here on Sept. 30, his seventh consecutive loss.

Corey County and Sweet Roberta have proven form on turf and are switching surfaces.

Corey County was third in the Louisiana Downs Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sept. 22, while Sweet Roberto won an optional claimer over a mile on turf at Del Mar on Sept. 1.

Cimyla, winless in three starts in the U.S., will be a longshot.