02/19/2005 12:00AM

Elusive Diva fine on either surface


ARCADIA, Calif. - is well-suited for the ever-changing conditions this winter in Southern California racing. She is entered Monday for the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile on turf, which may be switched to the main track because of expected wet weather.

Regardless of the surface Monday, Elusive Diva has the right credentials. She won her turf debut in the Wishing Well Stakes on the hillside turf course Jan. 30, her second career stakes win. Last spring, she won the Grade 3 Railbird on dirt at Hollywood Park. She has placed in three graded stakes on dirt, including the Grade 1 La Brea here Dec. 27.

Trainer Mark Glatt said he would prefer to run Elusive Diva on the main track instead of a soft turf course.

"She's training as good as ever," Glatt said. "This year, she's carried her weight much better."

Elusive Diva won an optional claimer at a mile on dirt last March. She has worked well since her last start, including a five-furlong workout in 59.60 seconds last Tuesday. It was the fastest of 91 recorded works at the distance.

Elusive Diva may not face Intercontinental, the 121-pound highweight. Trainer Bobby Frankel said Intercontinental may not run if the turf course is listed as yielding.

Intercontinental won the Group 1 Matriarch on turf in her last start at Hollywood Park in November. She was fifth on a yielding turf course in the Grade 1 Diana Handicap at Saratoga last summer.

A yielding course would help Hoh Buzzard, the winner of the Brown Bess Handicap in those conditions at Golden Gate Fields last month.

The Grade 2 Buena Vista Handicap could have a short field if the race is switched from turf to dirt. There were 13 entrants, but there is a safety limit of 11.

On turf, the race would be loaded with talent. Any for Love, Belle Ange, Hoh Buzzard, Katdogawn, Solar Echo, and Uraib have won or placed in turf stakes this year.

A transfer to dirt would help Resplendency, the winner of the Monrovia Handicap in December. She was third in the Santa Monica Handicap on Jan. 30.