03/16/2011 3:35PM

Cicada: Dream will step up to stakes at Aqueduct


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Last month, a 3-year-old filly based in Maryland shipped to Aqueduct to win the Dearly Precious Stakes. On Saturday, another Maryland-based filly is shipping up to New York with designs to take the Grade 3, $100,000 Cicada Stakes.

Dream, a daughter of Malibu Moon who has won her first two starts by open lengths, will make her stakes debut against six fillies in the Cicada, including Coax Liberty, the Dearly Precious winner.

Dream, trained by Rodney Jenkins, debuted last July at Delaware Park, winning a maiden race by 4 3/4 lengths as the 4-5 favorite in a field of seven. A week later, Jenkins noticed the horse was off and X-rays revealed the horse had a chip in her knee.

Jenkins said the chip was “very small” but that the filly was too good to press on. Jenkins said Dream returned to him at Laurel in late December, and she returned to the races on Feb. 18 with a first-level allowance win by six lengths.

“She was in good shape, and it was a good place to bring her back, but she was only about 80 percent,” Jenkins said. “She worked really good Sunday, and we decided to go ahead and take a shot. We’ll know more after Saturday.”

Though Dream has only sprinted in her career, Jenkins believes the filly will do well stretching out.

“I think she’s a horse that wants to go a distance of ground,” Jenkins said. “We’ll sprint her here and then hopefully they’ll let me stretch her out.”

Dream will break from post 4 in the six-furlong race. In Step, a maiden winner at Gulfstream, drew the rail. The rest of the field includes Full Moon Blues, Roman Treasure, Quantum Miss, Wild About Sonny, and Coax Liberty.

Cohen expected to return by Friday

David Cohen, who rode Coax Liberty to victory in the Dearly Precious, will ride Dream in the Cicada.

Cohen, who injured his right calf in a spill here March 10, missed his fourth consecutive day of riding Wednesday but was expected to be back by Friday at the latest, according to his agent, Bill Castle. Cohen was on a bit of a roll at the time of his injury.

Though he will finish a distant second in the inner track rider standings to Ramon Dominguez – it was 100-68 entering the final two weeks – Cohen has ridden 27 winners at Aqueduct over the inner track – compared to 22 for Dominguez – since Feb. 12. Dominguez did ride out of town several times during that span, but Cohen has continued to make his mark on the New York scene.

Cohen has ridden four stakes winners at the meet, including Calibrachoa in the Gravesend and Heart Butte in the Evening Attire Stakes – both for Todd Pletcher.

Friedman eyes big day Friday

Trainer Mitch Friedman has only five horses in his stable, but he has a good chance to win two races on Friday’s card.

In the fifth, Friedman drops the 5-year-old mare Spina in for $35,000 in what Friedman called “a winnable spot.”

In the eighth, Friedman will send out Kissa Melissa in a starter handicap for horses that have started for a claiming price of $15,000 or less in 2009-11. Kissa Melissa has had a solid winter, winning twice from five starts. Overall, the 6-year-old mare has won 11 of 40 starts and finished in the money an additional 19 times.

A closer look at Kissa Melissa’s record shows that she really thrives with Dominguez on her back. Dominguez is 6 for 12 on Kissa Melissa, with two seconds and four thirds. On Friday, Dominguez is reuniting with Kissa Melissa for the first time in three starts. Jose Espinoza rode the mare in her last two starts, a nose win Feb. 17 and a runner-up finish Feb. 27.

“The owner was disappointed with the ride last time being so far back with a slow pace,” Friedman said. “He said Dominguez knows the horse and if you can get him, get him. Anytime you can get the lead rider, you get him.”

With Full Gut, Iberian Gate, and Bernadette’s Song in the field, the race figures to set up nicely for Kissa Melissa who does her best running from off the pace.

◗ Kevin Cox, who recently retired from the New York Police Department after 20 years, has become a jockey’s agent and will represent Simon Husbands. In the past, Cox has worked on the backstretch for trainers Gary Contessa, Jimmy Ferraro, and Joe Aquilino.