07/31/2003 11:00PM

'Diamond' one to beat in sprint

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Trish's Diamond could be the one to beat in Saturday's $40,000-added Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes at the Sonoma County Fair.

The six 2-year-olds entered in the 5 1/2-furlong race are an interesting lot. Four of the six come off their maiden victory, and the fifth, Crown Royalty, comes off two straight victories, including a stakes win in Idaho.

The one maiden in the race is stakes-placed filly A Real Lady, who will be ridden by Russell Baze.

Trish's Diamond ran third in his debut at Bay Meadows in that meet's best 2-year-old maiden race for colts. He came back with an impressive wire-to-wire victory at Pleasanton, opting to run in a maiden race rather than the Everett Nevin Alameda County Futurity.

"He's a very nice colt out of a really good mare," Just Lookn by Synastry, trainer Lloyd Mason said.

The colt's connections considered running him in the Pleasanton stakes in his second start but decided against it.

"It was only his second race, and I was little leery, fearing someone really tough might show up," Mason said. "I talked a lot with the owner, and we decided to go a little slowly."

Mason approaches things cautiously, and his approach paid off, as Trish's Diamond won handily in a fast time - albeit slower than the stakes the following week.

"I don't think he showed me anything in the second race that I didn't suspect," Mason said. "I think it was just normal improvement, but this is a very nice colt."

The main threat figures to be Parisian, who stalked and rallied nicely to win his debut at the Solano County Fair, beating one of the colts who beat Trish's Diamond in his debut.

A pace duel would help Parisian, and he should get one. Crown Royalty ran fast, setting good fractions as the 1-5 favorite in his Idaho stakes victory. Razen Hazen also showed quickness in his debut last week, a wire-to-wire victory in a $32,000 maiden claimer here.

"That could be an advantage, having a race over the track," Mason said.

If so, it could also help Sweet Julie, a filly who rallied gamely to win a $12,500 claimer by a head here at 23-1 in her debut.

Because the field was short, trainer Dennis Hopkins opted to enter. "We don't know that much about her," he said. "We were a little surprised.

"I think it's still early enough in the year for fillies to have a chance against males."