08/02/2005 12:00AM

Siphon Honey tough on drop


DEL MAR, Calif. - Don Leifeld is living his dream. After nurturing his D & L Trucking Company in Nebraska, he sold the business and decided to train the horses he owned.

Leifeld, 50, has now relocated to Southern California. He is based out of Santa Anita, but on Thursday he will be at Del Mar with the best horse in his barn, the 6-year-old mare Siphon Honey, who looks like the one to beat in the day's featured seventh race, a $61,000, second-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs for older fillies and mares.

After two strong weeks at Del Mar, Thursday's eight-race card is a noticeable dropoff. It has seven claiming races, four of them for maidens. Five of the races have seven entries or fewer.

There were only five entered in the seventh, with drawing the outside. She is moving back to a sprint, and to allowance company, after going long in graded stakes in her last two starts. She finished sixth of seven in the Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap last time, when rating tactics were attempted by jockey Julio Garcia, per Leifeld's instructions.

"I wanted him to lay fourth or fifth, and he did it, but she fought him," Leifeld said. "From now on, I'm going to let the jockeys ride the way they want to."

Patrick Valenzuela has the mount. He rode Siphon Honey to a win and a second-place finish in a pair of first-level allowance races at Santa Anita in March, which were Siphon Honey's first races since November 2003.

"She had a spiral fracture in a cannon bone," Leifeld said. "She had plenty of time, and then the pins were taken out. She's gotten a lot better since she came back."

Leifeld trains four horses at Santa Anita. He has been training for five years. "I train my own horses now," he said. "I got rid of the trucks. I'm kind of retired."

, trained by the red-hot Julio Canani, recently returned from a 13-month layoff and finished fourth in a similar second-level allowance race after pressing a hot pace. That race was on the turf, over which Freakin Streakin has raced four times. In her only start on dirt, she finished fourth in a roughly run race.

is a recent arrival from Calder, where she won twice in seven starts. She is the only 3-year-old in the race. Cut the Mustard topped a first-level allowance field in her only previous start versus elders. She is trained by Bill Spawr, who is having a typically strong Del Mar meet.