08/31/2003 11:00PM

Dirty Diana a standout for Baffert

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Benoit & Associates
Dirty Diana, winning the CTBA Stakes under Mike Smith, is expected to be rolling early in Wednesday's race.

DEL MAR, Calif. - So far, Dirty Diana has been the stakes star for trainer Bob Baffert at Del Mar.

Her win in the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes on July 25 is Baffert's lone stakes win of a meet in which he is well on his way to a seventh consecutive overall training title.

Last year, Baffert won five stakes races at Del Mar; in 2000, he won a career-best 13.

Dirty Diana makes her third start of the meet in Wednesday's $100,000 Generous Portion Stakes for 2-year-old California-bred fillies. On Aug. 9, just 15 days after her 8 1/2-length win in the CTBA, Dirty Diana finished second as the favorite in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes, losing by four lengths to Tizdubai after leading in midstretch.

Baffert blames himself for the loss.

"She ran a good race," Baffert said. "We may have run back a little too soon."

Tizdubai is a California-bred but is being pointed for the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita Sept. 28. Her absence leaves Dirty Diana as a heavy favorite in the six-furlong Generous Portion.

The race has drawn nine entrants, but Dirty Diana is the lone stakes winner in the field. Other top candidates are Alpenwald, who finished fourth in the Grade 3 Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 4; Blowing Bartok, who finished third in the CTBA Stakes; and Nicole and Ben, an impressive winner of a maiden race at 5 1/2 furlongs on July 26.

Dirty Diana has shown speed in each of her four starts, which include a seven-length maiden win at Hollywood Park in April and a fifth in the Cinderella Stakes in June in her stakes debut.

Baffert said he expects jockey Mike Smith to have Dirty Diana in front in the Generous Portion.

"She wants to roll," Baffert said.

Not many of the other entrants have Dirty Diana's speed.

Blowing Bartok, still a maiden after three starts, closed from sixth to finish 10 lengths behind Dirty Diana in the CTBA Stakes. She later finished fifth against open company in a maiden race on Aug. 16.

Good Charlotte and She's Gottogetaway both won maiden races from stalking positions in their first starts.

Nicole and Ben scored a flashy maiden win by leading throughout but did not set exceptionally fast fractions - 22.23 and 45.59 seconds.

"We can lay second if we have to," trainer John Sadler said. "She's not a front-runner."