10/05/2006 12:00AM

Pivotal race for Spot the Diplomat

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Of the probable starters for Sunday's $250,000 Norfolk Breeders' Cup Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting, only Spot the Diplomat is a two-time stakes winner. Yet Spot the Diplomat may turn out to be one of the longest shots in the projected field of seven.

While several Norfolk hopefuls have run in graded stakes, Spot the Diplomat has yet to try that level. His two stakes wins came in statebred races at Del Mar - the Graduation Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs on July 26 and the I'm Smokin Stakes over six furlongs on Sept. 4.

The Grade 2 Norfolk will be Spot the Diplomat's first start around two turns. Trainer Carla Gaines is hopeful that a seven-furlong workout on Sept. 25 will provide Spot the Diplomat with the foundation needed to be competitive over 1 1/16 miles.

"He does have a two-turn workout," she said of the seven-furlong work. "He sat behind another horse and got the dirt. It wasn't a fast work, but it was indicative that he could go two turns."

Owned by Harris Farms, Spot the Diplomat has won 3 of 4 starts and $176,280.

Gaines was further enthused when Spot the Diplomat worked five furlongs in 58.60 seconds last Monday.

"I don't know where that came from, but the track was fast," she said.

Spot the Diplomat is using the race as a prep to the California Cup Juvenile here on Oct. 28, or perhaps the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

Sunday's race will reveal which race is appropriate. The Norfolk is led by Horse Greeley, the winner of the Del Mar Futurity; Principle Secret, the winner of the Best Pal Stakes; and Malt Magic, an impressive maiden winner over a mile at Del Mar on Sept. 4.

Las Palmas next for 'Beauty'

Beautyandthebeast is bound for the $150,000 Las Palmas Handicap here on Oct. 29 after a hard-fought win in Wednesday's $63,700 Swingtime Stakes.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Beautyandthebeast ($7.60) closed from fifth to finish a head in front of Berbatim in the field of six fillies and mares. Berbatim, who led from the start, finished two lengths in front of Dream's.

Trained by Neil Drysdale, Beautyandthebeast ran a mile on turf in 1:33.37. The restricted Swingtime Stakes was her first win since an allowance race here in December, the first start in the United States for the 4-year-old filly. Beautyandthebeast won the Sandringham Handicap at the Royal Ascot at York meeting in June 2005.

Beautyandthebeast has won 5 of 13 starts and $185,184. She was third in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Handicap here in March, finishing a half-length behind Silver Cup. The Las Palmas Handicap is run over the same course and distance as the Santa Ana Handicap, 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Siren Lure will train to BC Sprint

Siren Lure, the winner of the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap and Grade 2 Pat O'Brien BC Handicap during the summer, worked six furlongs in 1:13 on Hollywood Park's synthetic surface on Thursday.

The workout was the quickest of 17 recorded works at the distance.

Siren Lure was considered for Saturday's $250,000 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Stakes, but was held out in favor of training up to the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, trainer Art Sherman said. Siren Lure has not started since winning the Pat O'Brien at Del Mar on Aug. 20.

"For that kind of race, I want him at his best," Sherman said of the BC Sprint. The Ancient Title "is a little too quick back for me. He likes to have at least five or six weeks between races."