10/22/2007 12:00AM

La Traviata will stick to F&M Sprint

EmailOCEANPORT, N.J. - The connections of La Traviata have decided to forgo their original plan to run the undefeated 3-year-old filly against males in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and instead were to enter her on Tuesday for Friday's $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint.

La Traviata has started only three times, winning those races by a combined margin of 27 1/2 lengths. Purchased for $1.1 million as a 2-year-old by owners Michael Tabor, John Magnier, and Derrick Smith, La Traviata overcame a poor start to win Saratoga's Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes by 9 1/4 lengths on Aug. 25 in her most recent appearance.

La Traviata is trained by Patrick Biancone but will race in the name of his assistant, Francois Parisel, in the Filly and Mare Sprint. Pursuant to an agreement with the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, Biancone will not be the trainer of record for the Breeders' Cup as part of a penalty for a medication violation.

Biancone said his owners originally opted for the Sprint because it was a Grade 1 race, while the Filly and Mare Sprint is ungraded. A victory over males in the Sprint would also have enhanced La Traviata's chance to win the newly created Eclipse Award for filly and mare sprinters.

"After talking it over with Mr. Magnier, Mr. Tabor, and Mr. Smith, we decided to put her in the filly race because she's young and inexperienced and it wouldn't really be fair to run her in against the boys at this point of her career," Biancone said. "The owners just want to do what's best for the filly. We'll have another opportunity to try her in the Sprint next year."

The decision to run La Traviata in the Filly and Mare Sprint will now bring together the two leading members of the division, with Dream Rush likely to be the slight favorite in the six-furlong dash. La Traviata had her final tune-up for Friday's matchup when she worked a bullet half-mile in 45.60 seconds from the gate at Keeneland at Monday.

In Summation, also pre-entered for the Sprint, was declared out of the race on Monday.

"I was delighted with his work yesterday, but he did not come out of it 100 percent, and if he's not 100 percent, then he's not going to run in the Breeders' Cup," said trainer Christophe Clement on Monday.

The loss of La Traviata and In Summation, as well as Mach Ride, who was taken out of consideration for the race on Saturday due to a foot injury, leaves a field of 11 prospective starters for the Sprint.