12/01/2007 12:00AM

Romance Is Diane turns back all challengers

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - A brave Romance Is Diane repelled an early threat from Sugar Shake and then a stubborn Tough Tiz's Sis through the stretch to win the fourth stakes of her career in Saturday's $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park.

The style of the win in the Grade 2 Bayakoa confirmed to trainer Mike Mitchell that Romance Is Diane is best when allowed to set her own pace. Leading throughout, Romance Is Diane ($7) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.90, breaking a week-old track record.

Ridden by Michael Baze, Romance Is Diane led by a length over Sugar Shake on the backstretch, setting a quick early pace of 22.82 and 45.39 seconds. Tough Tiz's Sis threatened Romance Is Diane in early stretch, but never reached the front.

Romance Is Diane won by a length. "I tried to stay patient and save as much as I could for the stretch," Baze said. "When I let her go, she really kicked it in at the head of the lane."

Tough Tiz's Sis finished two lengths in front of 23-1 Fonce De in the field of five. Sugar Shake faded in the final three furlongs and was last.

Romance Is Diane has won five of 11 starts and $597,660 for owner Senji Nishimura.