11/03/2005 1:00AM

Diavla needs to get black type now


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Time could be running out for the 4-year-old filly Diavla in the $60,000 Honey Bee Stakes on Saturday night at The Meadowlands Racetrack.

The question of whether to race or breed Diavla next season is still unresolved for owners Bobby Hurley and Tom Perri. That adds a bit of urgency for trainer Kelly Breen.

"You try to win every race you run, but we're really trying to get a stakes win for her and I think she's got it in her," Breen said. "This is a perfect spot."

The Honey Bee at 1 1/16 miles is one of three stakes on the Big M's nine-race card, which gets under way at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. The others are the $60,000 John Henry at 1 3/8 miles on the turf and the $50,000 Storm Cat for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles.

In the Honey Bee, Diavla will be reunited with jockey Joe Bravo. They teamed for her lone victory this year, an allowance race over the summer at Monmouth Park.

will probably need a change of tactics to get her first stakes win. Her closing style won't play well at The Meadowlands, where speed has been dominant.

"I think that she can sit close," said Breen. "That's our game plan, and if she can hold to it, we're in good shape."

The track bias will play to After the Tone's strength. She pressed the pace here last time out and dug in gamely to win the Long Look Stakes by a neck.

The 4-year-old was given almost two months off over the summer after consecutive poor efforts at Belmont Park and Monmouth. The break helped, as she came back with two wins and a near-miss second in three starts.

"The break really seemed to pick her head up," said Rob Rader, who trains Mark Hennig's New Jersey division.

In the other stakes:

* Victory Circle will find the John Henry a much easier spot after an 11-length loss in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont.

Westmoreland Road, who has not won a race in two years while racing in England, makes his U.S. debut on Lasix for trainer Michael Dickinson.

* The seven 2-year-olds in the Storm Cat share a common trait: Each has one victory. Trainer Todd Pletcher doubles his chances with an entry of Up an Octave and Saint Augustus. Both colts won their maiden last time out.

Keeneland Kat has bronchitis

Breen was a forlorn figure wandering the Belmont Park backstretch on Wednesday morning of Breeders' Cup week. That was the day horses were entered for the championship races and Breen reluctantly decided Keeneland Kat would miss the Juvenile Fillies.

"The morning I didn't enter, I probably walked a couple miles on the Belmont backstretch trying to clear my head," said Breen.

Keeneland Kat, impressive winner of Monmouth's Sorority Stakes and third-place finisher in Belmont's Grade 1 Frizette, developed respiratory problems and Breen opted to shut down his first Breeders' Cup runner.

Subsequent tests at the New Jersey Equine Clinic revealed the filly had developed bronchitis. She is back at Breen's Monmouth barn, being treated with antibiotics and inhalers.

There is no timetable for her return.

"We're going to let her tell us when she's ready to do something again," said Breen. "We're going to let her come around slowly. With the right medication and time, she should come back 100 percent."