09/06/2001 12:00AM

Gaviola retired to breeding shed

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ELMONT, N.Y.- Grade 1 winner Gaviola has been retired after finishing eighth in Monday's $500,000 Diana Handicap on closing day at Saratoga, according to trainer Bill Turner.

Turner said the 4-year-old filly retires sound and will be bred next year by her breeder and owner, Carlos Perez.

"She hit her peak and it was her time," Turner said Thursday. "She retired sound and had a good career." Perez, said Turner, "didn't want to over-race her, because he always had the intention of breeding her."

This year, Gaviola, a daughter of grass champion Cozzene, was not able to duplicate the dazzling season she had in 2000, when she won six of eight starts, including the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap, the Grade 2 Lake Placid Handicap, and the Grade 3 Sands Point.

Gaviola won the Grade 3 Beaugay Handicap, which turned out to be her last victory, in May at Aqueduct and then lost her next three starts in stakes, twice as the favorite. She retires with earnings of $589,142 from a record of 8-2-2 from 17 starts.