04/29/2002 11:00PM

Cashier's Dream following plan


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - When a horse has been away for as long as seven months, horseplayers usually send up the red flag.

But when Cashier's Dream makes her return to action Thursday in the $100,000 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs, there doesn't have to be a stigma attached to her being absent since Oct. 6.

"There hasn't been a thing wrong with her," said trainer Steve Asmussen.

Although such an intentional layoff may seem unorthodox, it was done with a certain goal in mind, said Asmussen.

"Our goal all along has been the Test Stakes," he said. The Grade 1, seven-furlong Test is to be run July 27 at Saratoga. "There really aren't any quality sprints for a filly like her over the winter. She wasn't an Oaks filly, so we thought, let's just bring her back when it's time."

Cashier's Dream, owned by Team Valor and Bill Heiligbrodt, is one of nine 3-year-old fillies entered for the 47th running of the Grade 3, seven-furlong La Troienne, one of three stakes to be run here Thursday. Cashier's Dream drew the outside post and will be ridden by Donnie Meche.

Last spring, the Michigan-bred Cashier's Dream started her career in relative obscurity for trainer James Jackson, winning a Churchill maiden claiming race at 43-1. Little did anyone know what her next race would portend. Cashier's Dream beat You by three lengths in a June 20 allowance sprint, a race that both fillies used as a springboard to stardom. Soon afterward, Asmussen's clients bought Cashier's Dream from Jackson, and Bobby Frankel's longtime client Edmund Gann bought You from Hal Wiggins.

Since then, You has gone on to win three Grade 1 races and will be one of the favorites for the Kentucky Oaks here Friday. Cashier's Dream, meanwhile, is less accomplished - but not by much. Last summer and fall, she sandwiched two second-place finishes behind You in the Adirondack and Frizette around a romping victory in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga.

After the Frizette, she went on a prolonged break.

"We could've brought her back earlier, but we thought this race would be ideal," said Asmussen. "She's been training incredible."

Probably the toughest rival for Cashier's Dream will be Colonial Glitter, a 10 1/2-length winner of the March 23 Bourbonette Stakes. Fringe contenders among the other seven starters include Shameful, You'llbeinmyheart, and Drippingindiamonds.

The Mamzelle and Hard Scuffle Steeplechase also are carded Thursday, when the infield will be open to fans.