02/14/2007 12:00AM

Siren Lure to try another new frontier


ARCADIA, Calif. - Every six months, Siren Lure's career seems to go in a different direction.

Last winter, Siren Lure seemed best running in turf sprints. By the fall, the gelding had switched to dirt and was a leading contender for the Eclipse Award for outstanding sprinter.

For 2007, the plan may change again. Trainer Art Sherman has his eye on stretching out Siren Lure to two turns, particularly in races on turf.

"I think it will be easier on him and we can keep him around longer," Sherman said.

But Siren Lure will start the year in a familiar sort of race on Saturday, the $150,000 San Carlos Handicap at seven furlongs at Santa Anita.

Siren Lure will be searching for his eighth stakes win, a remarkable achievement considering he was claimed for $50,000 at Bay Meadows in May 2005 by his current owners - Stuart Kesselman and Tony and Marilyn Melkonian.

At the time, Siren Lure had won 3 of 8 starts, but no stakes.

"I liked the conformation on him," Sherman said, recalling the claim. "I was looking for a $50,000 claimer for these people. I didn't realize he'd be the horse he is."

Since the claim, Siren Lure has earned $689,474.

Most of the earnings came last summer when Siren Lure won three consecutive graded stakes - the Los Angeles and Triple Bend handicaps at Hollywood Park and the Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar.

Siren Lure went into the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs last November as a contender for the Eclipse Award for sprinters, but finished eighth of 14 after a wide trip.

The loss "was a profound disappointment, especially the way the track played that day," Sherman said. "You couldn't be wide and win."

Siren Lure finished 2006 with a runner-up finish in the Vernon Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park on Dec. 3. He was the even-money favorite and raced wide.

The two losses led the partnership to replace regular rider Alex Solis with Richard Migliore for the San Carlos.

The owners "thought maybe a change would be beneficial," Sherman said. Migliore "has worked him the last four times and he's gotten to know him."

Siren Lure has shown a remarkable late kick. Siren Lure made up more than six lengths to win the Los Angeles Handicap at six furlongs and more than five lengths to win the Triple Bend and Pat O'Brien handicaps, both at seven furlongs. The wins in the latter two races showed that Siren Lure is perhaps better over seven furlongs than six, which is why Sherman is optimistic the gelding can stretch out later this year.

In his most recent start at two turns, Siren Lure finished fourth by 1 3/4 lengths in the Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap at a mile on turf in September 2005. The race remains his only stakes appearance around two turns.

"We think he could do it if we get the right scenario," Sherman said. "When he kept winning in sprints, you don't have to change anything. If I can get the right race, I'd love to try him in a one-turn mile and let him make a late run."

That type of race is far removed from an optional claimer at five furlongs on turf at Bay Meadows, the race that Siren Lure won the day Sherman claimed him in May 2005.

Sherman would not reveal the changes that led to Siren Lure's improvement. After all, trainers guard some of their methods as if they are state secrets.

"You hate to be critical of the people that had him," Sherman said. "They said he had an air problem, but I didn't see it. I did a lot of galloping and jogging and he went to running for me. You try a few things on him and hope it works - a lot of long gallops. I saw a big change in him physically. He just turned around and started doing well."

The success has been evident in the results of the last year, and bodes well for the hopes in 2007.