08/19/2006 11:00PM

Siren Lure best in Pat O'Brien


DEL MAR, Calif. - Art Sherman has Declan's Moon's number. For the second straight time, a Sherman trainee upset the 2004 champion 2-year-old male. This time it was with Siren Lure, who won his third straight race, and sixth in his last seven starts, with a prototypical, late-running victory in the Grade 2, $298,000 on Sunday at Del Mar.

Siren Lure ($7.60) benefitted from a hot, contested early pace, and a desultory effort by favored Declan's Moon, who came off the bridle a half-mile into the seven-furlong race and finished last in the field of seven. Siren Lure rallied wide on the turn, then had to work hard to get past a stubborn Pure as Gold before pulling clear late under jockey Alex Solis to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

Pure as Gold, who battled through wicked early fractions of 21.96 seconds for a quarter-mile and 44.23 seconds for a half-mile, safely held second by 1 3/4 lengths over Areyoutalkintome.

Siren Lure completed seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:21.89 and earned a winner's share of $180,000 for owners Stuart Kesselman and Tony and Marilyn Melkonian.

Siren Lure, 5, has now won eight times in 11 starts since being claimed by his current connections for $50,000 in May 2005 at Bay Meadows.

Declan's Moon, who won the first five starts of his career, has now lost two straight, both times to horses trained by Sherman. This was the first time, though, that he was non-competitive. Declan's Moon balked at going into the gate, and was done early.

"He was acting a little nervous. That's not like him," said his rider, Victor Espinoza. "It wasn't his day."