02/07/2002 1:00AM

It's tough to beat Spanish Glitter in American Beauty


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Spanish Glitter is a horse who knows how to win. She has crossed the wire first in 10 of 19 career starts, and will be odds-on to win again Saturday at Oaklawn Park in the $50,000 American Beauty Stakes.

The six-furlong race for fillies and mares has drawn seven others, including the Cole Norman-trained Southern Tour and Sweet And Firm, who are uncoupled; horse-for-course Naturalingredients; and the promising East Is East.

Spanish Glitter likes to have her picture taken. Last year she won 8 of 15 starts and $332,275 for owner Fred Kissling. Among her wins were the $63,000 Meafara Stakes, the $54,000 Miss Oceana, and the $54,000 Silver Maiden at Arlington Park, as well as the $50,000 Holiday Inaugural at Turfway Park.

"She does whatever she has to to win," said William "Jack" Deakins, assistant to trainer Bernie Flint. "She's just a runner with a big heart."

Spanish Glitter, the field's highest earner with a bankroll of $387,600, is winning at a 50 percent clip this year. She started 2002 with a fourth place finish in the $42,000 Wishing Well on a muddy track at Turfway Park on Jan. 12, but rebounded with a victory soon after, romping by 5 1/4 lengths under regular rider James Lopez in a local allowance prep for the American Beauty.

For her wire-to-wire win in that 5 1/2-furlong race, she earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure.

Southern Tour closed for second in the allowance prep, which was her first race since Nov. 15. "I thought we had a shot to get [Spanish Glitter], but when we ran up on her, she just re-broke on us," said Norman, who trains Southern Tour for Earl Bellamy. "I think our filly will move up off the race. I also think going a little further, we'll be a little more competitive."

Southern Tour, who finished in front of Spanish Glitter last summer when second in the Grade 3 Azalea Breeders' Cup at Calder Race Course, will be ridden by Anthony Lovato.

Calvin Borel will ride Sweet And Firm, who with her best form would threaten Spanish Glitter. Last year, she finished second to Hallowed Dreams in two stakes at Lone Star Park near Dallas, and second to Midge Too in another at Louisiana Downs.

Spanish Glitter appears to be the fastest of the front-runners in the American Beauty, but if the pace dictates, she can rate, said Deakins, noting that she came from off the pace to win the Silver Maiden. "I don't think she has to have the lead to win," he said.

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