12/14/2001 1:00AM

Spawr thinks sprints for Notable Career


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The $70,000 Corona Handicap on Sunday at Hollywood Park is worth a fraction of the prizes that Notable Career competed for last year. But the purse of the overnight handicap is an accurate barometer of how far Notable Career, a Grade 1 winner at 2, has slumped as a 3-year-old.

In three starts this year for two trainers, Notable Career has finished fifth once and eighth twice. The form is a far cry from the summer and fall of 2000 when she won the Oak Leaf Stakes and Landaluce Stakes and finished second in the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes and Del Mar Debutante.

In her final start at 2, Notable Career finished fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs, emerging with an injury.

Notable Career was off until the summer when she finished fifth in the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 31, losing by 10 3/4 lengths to Tamara Princess.

She failed to impress in an allowance race/optional claimer over a mile on turf on Oct. 4 and was sent to owner John and Betty Mabee's Golden Eagle Farm in Ramona, Calif., shortly thereafter.

When she reappeared in the California Cup Matron on Nov. 3, she was saddled by trainer Bill Spawr, who replaced Bob Baffert.

"They gave me a bunch of horses and she was one of them," Spawr said of the 16 he received earlier this year from the Mabees.

By Avenue of Flags, Notable Career was one of the top California-breds of 2000 even though she lost the divisional title to Jetin Excess.

Spawr thinks that a return to shorter races could help Notable Career's form. At the start of her career, Notable Career won over the six-furlong distance of the Corona Handicap in the Landaluce Stakes. In addition, she was the 12-length winner of a maiden race over five furlongs.

"I think she could make a better sprinter," Spawr said.

Notable Career figures to play a prominent role in the betting for the Corona Handicap. She is part of a three-filly entry owned by Golden Eagle Farm and trained by Spawr that includes Song of the Moment, a California-bred by River Special, and Enchanted Woods, a Kentucky-bred.

Song of the Moment can win the Corona, which includes the Del Mar stakes winner Kalookan Queen and Ivory Tower, an undefeated import from Argentina. Song of the Moment was a stakes winner on the northern California fair circuit in 2000 and was fourth in the California Cup Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

Spawr says that Notable Career has a younger sister with a promising future: The 2-year-old Fashion and Style is nearing her career debut, which is expected in coming weeks at Santa Anita.

Record at stallion auction

The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association's annual stallion auction was conducted last Tuesday, raising a record $86,000.

The proceeds will be used for the organization's political action committee, which lobbies on behalf of the CTBA on legislative issues in Sacramento. The top bid was $17,500 for a season to In Excess, who stands at Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif.

* Jetin Excess is nearing a comeback following a year-long layoff. On Friday at Hollywood Park, Jetin Excess worked five furlongs in 1:00.60. Trained by Pico Perdomo for a partnership, Jetin Excess won four of five starts as a 2-year-old. She won three stakes, including the Moccasin Stakes, but lost her only appearance in a graded stakes, finishing second by a neck to I Believe in You in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet.