02/24/2005 1:00AM

Daydreams of glory

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Jim Linscott
A win in the Indiana BC Oaks was part of Daydreaming's strong late run that closed out 2004.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Daydreaming made a slow but steady ascent toward the top of a very deep and talented 3-year-old filly division during the second half of 2004. This year, trainer Shug McGaughey is hopeful Daydreaming will complete that climb.

begins her 2005 campaign in Saturday's $100,000 Sabin Handicap at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/8-mile fixture for fillies and mares drew a field of six and serves as a major prep for the Grade 2 Rampart Handicap on March 26.

Daydreaming closed out her 3-year-old season by winning 3 of her last 4 starts, including the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap on Nov. 26. Her lone loss during that span was a second-place finish behind Stellar Jayne in the Grade 1 Gazelle.

In her final work for the Sabin, Daydreaming went five furlongs in 59 seconds on Feb. 20.

"It's time to get started and she's been doing fine," said McGaughey, who trains Daydreaming, a homebred, for Ogden Mills Phipps. "Her last work was a little faster than I wanted, but it was okay, and if all goes well Saturday I'll bring her back in the Rampart."

Jerry Bailey will be aboard Daydreaming, who carries high weight of 118 pounds in the Sabin.

and Adobe Gold, stablemates who were first and second in the Banshee Breeze Handicap on Jan. 23, and Isola Piu Bella, their most immediate victim that day, head the competition. Valliant Dancer and Path of Thunder complete the field.

Pampered Princess withstood several challenges, even relinquishing the lead briefly to Isola Piu Bella in early stretch, before reasserting herself to post a head victory over Adobe Gold in the Banshee Breeze. Adobe Gold, who rallied from midpack and finished best of all that afternoon, will get a rematch with Daydreaming, having finished seven lengths behind that rival last fall in the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks.

Pampered Princess and Adobe Gold are trained by Marty Wolfson and will again be uncoupled in the wagering.

figures to move forward off the Banshee Breeze, and if she does, she may have the best chance of upsetting Daydreaming. A Chilean-bred trained by Todd Pletcher, Isola Piu Bella was making not only her first start in this country, but also her first in more than 13 months. She came up just a bit short after slipping through along the rail to gain a brief lead near the eighth pole.