02/27/2007 12:00AM

Will Overly Tempting run hot or cold?


ARCADIA, Calif. - Overly Tempting set the bar awfully high by scoring a runaway debut victory Oct. 29, winning by more than seven lengths with a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.

But when she moved up for her second start Jan. 11, her disappointing performance left many wondering how good she really was. Bet to 2-5 in that first-condition allowance for California-breds, Overly Tempting was fully extended to win by a length in a slow 1:16.86 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

"We didn't really crank her," trainer Bruce Headley explained later, and the comment was unusual because trainers do not normally provide an excuse following a victory. But then, not many horses win first time-out by the length of the grandstand.

In the seventh-race feature Thursday at Santa Anita, bettors must decide which is the real Overly Tempting. Was it the one that crushed maidens? Or the one that was all-out to win by a length with an 80 Beyer?

A field of 10 entered the six-furlong optional claiming race, which is open to first level allowance runners or horses entered for $40,000.

Callmeluckylucy was entered for the claiming price and appears to be well-meant. Others of note include sharp maiden winners Kin to a Kitty and Sari Jo, the 7-for-10 Bettersweetmoment, and comebacker Threadneedle.

Owned by Bud and Judy Johnston, and Marsha Naify, Overly Tempting is an In Excess 4-year-old and half-sister to California Cup Distaff winner Tempting Date.

Headley said Overly Tempting's subpar second start was a training blunder.

"Her works were too easy, it was a miscalculation," he said.

Overly Tempting's workouts into the statebred race were 1:02.80 for five furlongs and 1:14.60 for six.

"They were too slow for a Headley horse," Headley said.

Overly Tempting entered a first-level allowance on Jan. 31, and was 7-5 on the program, but scratched when she tied up. She worked five days later and enters the Thursday allowance with only one glitch. Headley planned to blow her out Tuesday morning, but the track was closed for workouts because of rain.

Alex Solis rides Overly Tempting, whose main rivals are Callmeluckylucy and Bettersweetmoment. Callmeluckylucy drops in class from a second-level allowance and she could be the speed of the field. If she runs back to her Oct. 12 effort, she could be tough to catch. A front-runner, Callme-luckylucy failed to produce her speed in a turf sprint last out. Back on the main track, and dropping in class, she will try to wire the field.

Bettersweetmoment wired Cal-bred allowance fillies in a slow-pace turf race last time, her seventh win from 10 starts.

Two Times Won, Dona Kika, Light My Ducks, and Kalamata round out the field.