02/19/2002 1:00AM

Tempera's big victory sealed deal


History figured to repeat itself in the voting for champion 2-year-old filly and it did.

The voters, as they had on 14 other occasions, bestowed the winner of the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with the Eclipse Award.

Tempera was the winner among all three voting blocs and defeated Habibti and You, the other finalists in the division.

Tempera, a homebred, provided the Maktoum family's Godolphin Racing Inc. with its second Eclipse Award in 2001. Fantastic Light, the winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf, earned the Eclipse as the champion male turf horse.

Eoin Harty, Tempera's trainer, accepted the award, which was presented to him by ESPN personality, Randy Moss.

"She was a very deserving champion," Harty said. "On a personal level, I want to thank Sheikh Mohammed for letting me train Tempera."

Tempera raced exclusively in Southern California until heading to New York for the Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park in the fall.

The beautifully bred daughter of A. P. Indy, out of the Mr. Prospector mare, Colour Chart, began her career on June 10 at Hollywood Park on a quiet note by finishing third in a maiden race.

Tempera started to heat things up in her next start a month later when she won a race at Hollywood Park by three lengths. Following her first win, Harty tested his filly for class in the Grade 2 Sorrento at Del Mar on Aug. 4 and Tempera responded with a nine-length victory over seven rivals. Following Tempera's third-place finish as the odds-on favorite behind Habibti in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 26, Harty gave his filly some time to mature mentally.

The two months between starts apparently served Tempera well. Sent off as the sixth choice in the nine-horse Juvenile Fillies, Tempera, with David Flores in the saddle, scooted clear in deep stretch for 1 1/2-length score over her stablemate, Imperial Gesture. Tempera's time of 1:41.49 for the 1 1/16 miles was a Breeders' Cup stakes record.

Tempera's year concluded with her win in the Juvenile Fillies. Her record was 3-0-2 from five starts and $670,240 in earnings.

Harty, who trains Godolphin Racing's 2-year-olds, has turned over Tempera to Saeed bin Suroor, who is preparing the filly for her 3-year-old campaign at the Al Quoz training center in Dubai. Tempera's first start of the year is expected to come in the United Arab Emirates 1000 Guineas against fillies on March 14 at Nad Al Sheba.

Tempera is one of 17 horses nominated to the Triple Crown by Godolphin Racing.