12/23/2004 12:00AM

Yearly Report looking good

A series of fast works, a track record last out, and Jerry Bailey in the saddle combine to make Yearly Report the horse to beat in Monday's La Brea.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Yearly Report has proven herself around two turns, but she is virtually unbeatable around one turn. In four sprints, she has won three times, her lone loss coming when second to Silent Sighs, part of the stellar cast of California-bred 3-year-old fillies of 2004.

Silent Sighs has been retired. House of Fortune is behind on her training and is skipping Monday's Grade 1, $250,000 La Brea Stakes. That leaves Yearly Report as the best of the locals lining up to take on Eastern import Bending Strings in the seven-furlong La Brea, highlight of a special Monday card at Santa Anita.

comes off a track-record performance going seven furlongs in the Stonerside Stakes at Lone Star Park the day before the Breeders' Cup. Her three most recent works coming into the La Brea all have been the best of the morning at the distance. She is favorably drawn, in post 11 in the 13-horse field. And Jerry Bailey is jetting west to ride her.

"He rides her with a lot of confidence," said Bob Baffert, who trains Yearly Report. "He puts her in the race. She's training very, very well."

Yearly Report should get an ideal stalking trip. Tizakitty, Iflookscouldkill, and all have sharp early speed, but none have beaten horses of this caliber. Yearly Report will be right on top of them early, and figures to get first run on her primary rivals.

heads west in the best form of her career. She won the seven-furlong First Flight Handicap before a heartbreaking loss to Daydreaming in the Top Flight Handicap, both at Aqueduct. She was a distant fourth behind Yearly Report in the Santa Ynez Stakes here earlier this year, but she is much better now.

Bending Strings carries 121 pounds, two fewer than Yearly Report.

Ron McAnally, who trains House of Fortune, will still be represented by Mea Domina. She has won her last two starts, both on turf, but her dirt form prior to that was promising. Although she was winless, she finished second in all three of her dirt starts, all sprints. She is a legitimate late threat, and at a price.

"She hasn't run since October because there really were no races for her at Hollywood," McAnally said. "Her last grass race was super. She pressed the pace and still had a strong turn of foot at the end. But Baffert's got the one to beat."

is making her first start in nearly five months. She has been off since failing to handle a muddy track in the Test Stakes at Saratoga. Last summer, Elusive Diva won the Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park.

"We gave her time off because we had campaigned her pretty hard, and as a 3-year-old we wanted to see her carrying a little more weight," said Mark Glatt, who trains Elusive Diva. "She had had eight races and had traveled across the country twice. She just needed some time off to gain some weight and mature. I like the way she's carrying herself on the track now. She's a lot more mature. She's carrying more weight.

"Seven-eighths is a tough race to win coming off a layoff, especially with this competition, but it's a good measuring stick to see how much farther we want to try her. She's training magnificently."

Susan's Angel has improved sharply since beating maidens in May in her seventh lifetime start. She comes off a second-place finish to Halory Leigh in the Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs, which is for older fillies and mares.

Amorama, the Del Mar Oaks winner, is trying dirt for the first time.

Sweet Lips has won four straight races, and four of her last five, but this is her first time in a stakes race.

The field

La Brea Stakes
Purse: $250,000; 7 furlongs; Grade 1

1Costume DesignerJ. Court115 50-1
2Sweet LipsG. Gomez117 6-1
3Elusive DivaK. Desormeaux1198-1
4NyrambaR. Douglas11720-1
5Mea DominaG. Stevens1198-1
6TizakittyJ. Valdivia11730-1
7Susan's AngelT. Baze1218-1
8IflookscouldkillF. Martinez11520-1
9Bending StringsV. Espinoza1215-1
10AmoramaD. Flores12120-1
11Yearly ReportJ. Bailey1236-5
12Alphabet KissesM. Smith11750-1
13Salty RomanceT. Farina11720-1

* Odds by Art Gropper