Updated on 09/15/2011 1:57PM

Perfect record at risk in Diana

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NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Diana highweight Penny's Gold wins the Balston Spa on Aug. 13 at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Last summer, Perfect Sting used the Grade 2 Diana Stakes as an important stepping-stone to victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. But the 2001 Filly and Mare Turf is not likely to be in the cards for the two leading candidates in this year's edition of the Diana, highweight Penny's Gold and California invader Janet.

The $500,000 Diana at 1 1/8 miles on the turf highlights the final program of the 2001 Saratoga meeting. Belmont's Fall Championship Meet opens Friday.

Penny's Gold, like Perfect Sting a year ago, enters the Diana undefeated on the year, winning four consecutive races since coming under trainer Christophe Clement's tutelage last winter. Included among her victories was a three-quarters of a length win in the Balston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap earlier in the meet.

But despite Penny's Gold's unblemished U.S. record, Clement has reservations about his filly's ability to get the 1 3/8-mile distance of the Filly and Mare Turf.

"She's a very good filly but might be a bit limited in stamina, and I'd say the Filly and Mare Turf is unlikely at the moment," said Clement. "I believe a mile and one-eighth might be as far as she wants to go. But I could be wrong. We'll try it in the Diana and see what happens. The alternative might be the Breeders' Cup Mile. I think she just might be good enough to beat the boys."

Jerry Bailey fills the 120-pound assignment.

Janet will receive a one-pound concession from Penny's Gold, despite coming off a Grade 1 victory over Tranquility Lake in Del Mar's Ramona Handicap. And while the 11 furlongs of the Filly and Mare Turf is not beyond her range, there is little chance she'll run in the World Championships because she is not eligible for the Breeders' Cup.

"Right now I'm not thinking of the Breeders' Cup as a significant possibility regardless of the outcome of the Diana," said trainer Darrell Vienna when asked if he would consider supplementing Janet to the Filly and Mare Turf.

Janet has won three of her last four starts, the lone setback in that span was her first trip to New York, when she finished a tiring third in the Sheepshead Bay Handicap, a race taken off the grass and run over a muddy track.

"The key to her chances in the Diana is getting a clean trip," Vienna said. "She's been incredibly unlucky in a number of her starts this year. In fact I wouldn't necessarily call the Ramona her best effort of the season."

The presence of Gaviola and Iftiraas should assure an honest pace.

Gaviola seeks to rebound from a fourth-place finish behind Penny's Gold in the Balston Spa, when she set a lightning-fast pace before weakening. Trainer Bill Turner Jr. has made a rider switch to Jean Luc Samyn in the hopes of slowing his filly down a bit more in the early going.

Iftiraas led throughout to score a five-length win in Philadelphia Park's Dr. James Penny Handicap. But trainer Bill Mott isn't looking for her to be in front in the Diana. "It might do her good to get in behind Gaviola and have someone to run at," he said.