04/30/2004 12:00AM

Elusive Diva takes step back in Railbird


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Elusive Diva was ambitiously placed when she started in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 9. When she finished fourth, trainer Mark Glatt abandoned plans for a start in Friday's Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and brought her back to California.

Sunday, Elusive Diva returns in the $100,000 Railbird Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park. Glatt considers the Grade 3 Railbird an excellent race for Elusive Diva to attempt to win her first stakes and maybe go on to the $175,000 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks on June 12.

"With the addition of blinkers and going seven-eighths, it's the perfect type of race," Glatt said.

made her stakes debut in the Fantasy Stakes. Sent off at 29-1, she stalked the pace to the final turn but faded in early stretch, losing by eight lengths to House of Fortune.

"It may have been too much to ask of her," Glatt said. "The fillies that beat her had more experience than she did. I think she gained a lot of experience. I don't know if it was the traveling, but she seemed a little unfocused."

To prevent a recurrence of such behavior, Elusive Diva will wear blinkers for the first time in the Railbird.

"When she first started out she was a little speed crazy, so I was reluctant to put them on her because I wanted her to relax," Glatt said.

Elusive Diva will break from post 4 in the Railbird Stakes, which has drawn a strong field of 10.

was second in the La Habra Stakes at Santa Anita Feb. 29, her first start for trainer Bobby Frankel. Previously, Aspen Gal won three minor stakes in the Midwest.

Five of the fillies won their last start - Allswellthatnswell, Church Editor, Healthy Addiction, Highest Honoree, and Speedy Falcon.

Allswellthatnswell won the Stanford Stakes over six furlongs at Bay Meadows on April 18. Church Editor won the Scottsdale Handicap over a mile on turf at Turf Paradise on March 27. Speedy Falcon has won three straight, including the $250,000 Sunland Park Oaks over a mile on March 27.

Healthy Addition will be well-backed in the Railbird. She has won her last two starts, and is trained by John Sadler.