07/31/2002 11:00PM

Little Treasure makes U.S. debut


DEL MAR, Calif. - Little Treasure will be an unknown factor for handicappers when she makes her U.S. debut in Saturday's $150,000 San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar.

But two rival trainers are familiar with the French import. Ron McAnally and Carla Gaines said this week they were interested in acquiring Little Treasure for their clients, but lost out when she was bought by Sidney Port of Chicago.

Little Treasure brings strong credentials to the Grade 2 San Clemente, run over a mile on turf for 3-year-old fillies.

A stakes winner in France in May, Little Treasure has been with trainer Laura de Seroux since early July, preparing for the San Clemente.

She won the one-mile Prix de Bagatelle by two lengths on May 21 at Chantilly, France, shortly before she was bought on behalf of Port by bloodstock agent Emmanuel de Seroux, Laura de Seroux's husband. She arrived at Laura's barn on July 6.

De Seroux said that Little Treasure is best as a stalker. She should at least two targets to chase with Drippingindiamonds and Super High in the San Clemente field.

"In her last race, she laid second and kicked with a nice turn of foot," de Seroux said. "She has tactical speed."

Little Treasure faces a strong cast of locally based fillies, and a shipper from New York trained by Bobby Frankel.

Both McAnally and Gaines have logical contenders in the field of nine. McAnally starts Alozaina, who finished third in the $500,000 American Oaks on July 6, while Gaines starts the front-running Super High, a winner of two stakes during the Hollywood Park meeting. Super High is making her graded stakes debut in the San Clemente.

Trainer Bobby Frankel has two starters - Drippingindiamonds, who has never run on turf; and Carinae, second to Super High in the Flawlessly Stakes.

Drippingindiamonds drew the outside post, which will force jockey Patrick Valenzuela to urge her from the start to save ground. The San Clemente will be Drippingindiamonds's first start on turf. She finished seventh in her stakes debut in the Grade 1 Prioress Stakes at Belmont Park on July 6 after a poor start.

Gaines said Super High's win in the Flawlessly made the filly more confident. Tactically, Gaines says Super High is not one-dimensional despite her gutty win in the Flawlessly.

"Every time they got to her, she had something left in the tank," Gaines said. "But I don't think she has to be on the front end."

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