07/14/2001 12:00AM

Monmouth: Piazza wire to wire


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Piazza di Spagna and jockey Chuck Lopez teamed up for a front-running victory in the $75,000 Inside Information Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

A 5-year-old mare, Piazza di Spagna shipped in for owner-trainer Rene Araya after two easy claiming wins at Belmont Park. She made the lead early in the mile turf race and never looked back, giving Lopez three wins on the afternoon.

"I bought her in Chile because that's where I'm from," said Araya. "She's doing very well now. It takes them time to get acclimated. I have had a lot of success with Chilean horses, and I won races at Monmouth with them before."

Piazza di Spagna paid $8.60 and finished the mile in 1:34.44 on a firm turf course.

"The only thing I had to do was not fall off," said Lopez. "She did the rest."

Mumtaz rallied in the stretch to get second and Arty'svirginiagirl held third. Efficient Frontier, the

2-1 favorite, faded to last after stalking the leader to the top of the stretch.

Lopez also scored with Sardukar ($12.80) in the $50,000 Bet Twice Stakes.

The Alan Goldberg-trained Sardaukar shipped in from Hollywood and got his second straight victory for owner R.D. Hubbard. I'm Sentimental was second and Crash Course was third.