07/27/2004 11:00PM

Halory Leigh deserves another shot


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Halory Leigh ran well enough in her turf debut last time out for trainer Dale Romans to give her another try on that surface. That second chance will come Saturday at Saratoga in the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana Handicap at nine furlongs.

Halory Leigh, who won a minor stakes on dirt last year, finished second in the Grade 2 Locust Grove Handicap on turf at Churchill Downs on June 26.

"I worked her on turf and she worked so good I decided to try her,'' Romans said. "She sat back there and made a big run. I'm sure she'll have to step up again, but she's training so good this is a good place to take a shot.''

The Diana field is coming up light in numbers with only five mares considered definite and another one possible. Intercontinental, who is 3 for 3 in this country, and Wonder Again, winner of the New York Handicap last out, are the top horses in the race. Also expected to run are Riskaverse and Spice Island. Snowdrops, a winner of her last four starts, is considered possible.

Mayo on the Side looks to rebound

Mayo on the Side, who upset Azeri earlier this year in the Humana Distaff, arrived in Saratoga from Kentucky on Tuesday to run in Sunday's $250,000 Go for Wand.

Mayo on the Side, trained by Carl Nafzger, has lost two straight starts as the favorite since winning the Grade 1 Humana by a head over Azeri at Churchill Downs on May 1. Mayo on the Side finished fourth in the Grade 3 Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap at Arlington Park on June 19 and then was second in the HBPA Handicap at Ellis Park on July 10. She was beaten a half-length by Miss Fortunate, who carried five pounds fewer.

Nafzger said Mayo on the Side's last race "was good, nothing spectacular. Her other race was my fault, but I don't want to discuss it."

Azeri, the 2003 Horse of the Year, will be among Mayo on the Side's rivals in the Grade 1 Go for Wand. The exceptional field also will include Grade 1 winners Sightseek, who won the race last year, Storm Flag Flying, and Passing Shot.

"It's a tough race, but it's a good place [to determine] where you head next," said Nafzger, who won the Go for Wand with Banshee Breeze in 1999.

Robby Albarado, who will be the sixth jockey to ride Mayo on the Side this year, has the mount.

Lewis gets Lake George hopeful

Trainer Lisa Lewis welcomed a new arrival to her barn, Cupid's Arrow, who is a possible starter in Monday's Grade 3, $100,000 Lake George Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf.

Saratoga residents Thomas Farone and his son, Thomas Jr., purchased Cupid's Arrow privately from the Get the Trip Stable and trainer Michael Sedlacek. Cupid's Arrow joined Lewis's stable on Tuesday. Cupid's Arrow, a daughter of Awesome Again, is coming off an entry-level allowance win at Belmont on July 16 in which she beat a decent field and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90.

"We saw her win at Belmont and it seemed that whole race was a tough race,'' Lewis said. "She flew home and had a real good turn of foot. We saw that they didn't pay that much for her and thought maybe she'd be possible to buy. I called Mike Sedlacek and they worked out a deal to buy the filly. We're real excited about her.''

If Lewis elects not to run Cupid's Arrow in the Lake George, there is a second-level allowance race for her on Aug. 7.

Lewis will be represented in the Grade 2, $150,000 Honorable Miss Stakes on Aug. 6 with Belong to Sea. A winner of the Grade 3 Miss Preakness last year, Belong to Sea has recently returned to form with two strong races, a head loss and then a 1 1/2-length win in third-level allowance races.

"She's really doing well right now. She's as good as she's ever been,'' Lewis said. "``She's always had [physical] issues, we had to back off her a few times. She's been able to put a few races back to back and she's getting better by doing that.''

Christine's Outlaw waits for Fourstardave

Following his sharp victory in the Grade 3 Poker Handicap three weeks ago at Belmont, Christine's Outlaw would have had to be considered a contender for Friday's Bernard Baruch Handicap.

But Christine's Outlaw had three tough races in five weeks and trainer George Weaver did not want to rush him back in this spot and thus, did not enter. Instead, Weaver will point Christine's Outlaw to the Grade 2, $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap here on Travers Day, Aug. 28.

"He ran a big race coming back in two weeks then came back in three weeks,'' Weaver said. "If we give him a good six weeks between races we'll be in good shape.''

Elusive Diva brings Glatt cross country

Trainer Mark Glatt will saddle his first New York starter in Saturday's Grade 1 Test. Glatt, who is based in California, will run Elusive Diva in the seven-furlong Test for 3-year-old

fillies. The $250,000 Test is shaping up to be a terrific race, and will include Grade 1 winners Friendly Michelle and Society Selection, and several other stakes winners.

Elusive Diva has won 3 of 7 starts this year, including the Grade 3 Railbird, a seven-furlong race run at Hollywood Park in May. In her last start, Elusive Diva finished third in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap on July 10. She also was the runner-up in the Grade 2 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks, a two-turn race, in June.

"She can really go from seven furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth, but she's very capable at seven furlongs," Glatt said.

When she won the Railbird, it was Elusive Diva's first start in blinkers. Glatt made the equipment change even though the filly had won two starts without blinkers.

"They helped her quite a bit," Glatt said. "They have kept her focused at the task at hand."

Jorge Chavez has the mount on Elusive Diva, who arrived in Saratoga on Tuesday.

Society Selection worked a half-mile in 46.39 seconds over the sloppy main track on Wednesday.

Bailey closes in on Saratoga record

As best as can be determined by multiple sources who have researched the topic, Angel Cordero Jr. is the top career rider at Saratoga with 640 victories.

Jerry Bailey, however, is poised to break that record this summer. Bailey, according to the research, entered this year's meet with 632 wins.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson