03/14/2002 1:00AM

Serena's Tune faces Amoss trio


NEW ORLEANS - The fillies that finished one-two in the Pan Zareta Handicap - My Brent's Diamond and Hallowed Dreams - are out of Saturday's Victoria Lass Handicap. The door leading to a $125,000 purse stands wide open.

With My Brent's Diamond retired and Hallowed Dreams temporarily on the sidelines, the six-furlong Victoria Lass could reasonably be won by any one of the seven fillies and mares entered. The weights say as much - all seven are separated by only a three-pound spread, from 112 to 115 pounds.

Trainer Tom Amoss is taking three swings in the race, with Sweet and Firm, Run for Little Bit, and Lettuce Loose, but he still doesn't have the favorite. Serena's Tune should fill that role, though she finished a non-threatening fourth in the Pan Zareta in a performance nothing like her allowance win here Dec. 20, when she won by more than four lengths and ran six furlongs in a snappy 1:09.40.

"She either wins or she gets nothing," said trainer Josie Carroll, pointing out Serena's Tune's career record of 13-6-0-0. "I have no idea why. If I did, I guess she'd never lose."

As a daughter of the champion filly Serena's Song, Serena's Tune is worth more as a broodmare than a racehorse. And with that in mind, the Victoria Lass is likely to be Serena's Tune's final start for owner John Sikura before she's retired and bred to Storm Cat this spring.

While Serena's Tune is on her way out, Sweet Nanette is just getting back into the game. Sweet Nanette, who won two stakes here last season, last raced May 3, finishing second to Caressing in the Grade 3 La Troienne Stakes, but she came out of the race with a fracture in her hind pastern. The injury required surgery, during which screws were inserted in her leg, and Sweet Nanette only resumed serious training at the beginning of this meet.

Trainer Dallas Stewart has been bearing down on her in the last six weeks to prepare Sweet Nanette for a start, and three of her last five works have been bullet moves.

"She's been hard at it," Stewart said, "but I don't know if she's ready to go out there and run 1:09 and change like they might."

Run for Little Bit is unbeaten after four career starts, but the best of the Amoss trio might be Lettuce Loose, a Louisiana-bred who has won five of six starts at Fair Grounds.

Extended View, a former maiden claimer, will set the early pace from the rail, and if she's not pressured early by Serena's Tune could prove difficult to catch.

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