02/10/2007 1:00AM

Dream Rush leaves 'Anna' far back


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Dream Rush gave trainer Rick Violette his second important stakes victory in less than 30 minutes, and did so at the expense of the previously undefeated Eclipse Award champion Dreaming of Anna, when she coasted to a 3 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $150,000 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Violette also won Aqueduct's Whirlaway Stakes with his promising 3-year-old colt Summer Doldrums.

Dreaming of Anna, making her first start since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies to complete an undefeated 2-year-old campaign, chased Dream Rush from the outset of the 6 1/2-furlong Old Hat before tiring through the final furlong to finish a well-beaten third.

Dream Rush finished second as the 1-5 favorite under allowance conditions in her 3-year-old debut after being blocked for much of the race while trying to rate off the pace. But Violette was determined not to let that happen again in the Old Hat, instructing jockey Rafael Bejarano to send the daughter of Wild Rush right to the lead from her inside post. And Dream Rush did just that, setting fractions of 22.21 and 44.99 seconds with Dreaming of Anna in close attendance, before readily pulling away from the champ through the stretch. You Asked rallied belatedly down the middle of the track to easily finish second, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Dreaming For Anna.

Dream Rush ($6) covered the distance in 1:16.60.

"I kind of put handcuffs on Rafael the last time but I didn't regret it because I didn't need her to run her 'A' race the first time back," said Violette, who trains Dream Rush for West Point Thoroughbreds and Lewis Lakin. "Having the inside post kind of forced our hand and I figured if we could outrun the champion to the lead and put pressure on her it might make it tough for her coming off the bench like that."

Trainer Wayne Catalano took Dreaming of Anna's first defeat in stride.

"Things went her way and she was good at the right moment when she won the Breeders' Cup," said Catalano. "But I've always thought she was a turf horse and I know now we've got to be strictly grass and that's that."