03/14/2002 12:00AM

Tempera is upset in Dubai

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Tempera suffered an embarrassing five-length defeat at the hands of her Godolphin stablemate Infinite Spirit in the $250,000 UAE 1000 Guineas at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night.

Running for the first time since she won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last October, Tempera challenged the front-running Infinite Spirit at the three-sixteenths pole, getting to within 1 1/2 lengths before the winner reasserted herself.

From there to the line Tempera struggled, just holding off the unheralded E.B.'s Sweep by 1 3/4 lengths for second. Infinite Spirit, ridden by John Carroll, was timed in the 1:37.97 for the mile on a fast dirt track. Infinite Spirit was a maiden winner on turf in England last year and had previously won a 7 1/2-furlong conditions race on dirt at Nad Al Sheba by 3 3/4 lengths over Seba, who was fourth in Thursday's race.

"Tempera was very disappointing," said a dispirited Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager.

"She's run way below her form and it's difficult to say what went wrong. She'd been training well and we were expecting her to win easily," Crisford said, but when her rider, Frankie Dettori, "asked her the question, there was nothing there. She has come back sound after the race but the fact is, she simply didn't fire."

Plans for both Tempera and Infinite Spirit are in flux.

For Infinite Spirit, "The UAE Oaks on April 14 is one option," said Crisford.

Tempera, whose other juvenile victories included a nine-length triumph in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar last August, is nominated to both the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks as well as to the one-mile 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5. Barring some rapid improvement, however, her appearance in any of those races looks rather doubtful at this time.