05/22/2008 11:00PM

Dream Rush makes delayed '08 debut

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Dream Rush has been working swiftly at Aqueduct. Violette entered her in a richer, easier spot at Philadelphia Park on Saturday, but she will run in the Vagrancy.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Better late than never, Dream Rush kicks off her 4-year-old campaign in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park.

A multiple Grade 1 winner at 3, Dream Rush was a finalist for the inaugural Eclipse Award in the female sprint division, an award won by Maryfield. Dream Rush finished fifth to Maryfield in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at sloppy Monmouth Park last Oct. 26, Dream Rush's last start.

Her previous owners put Dream Rush through the sales ring last November, and she fetched $3.3 million from Halsey Minor, who kept her with Rick Violette, the filly's original trainer.

Dream Rush spent the winter at Palm Meadows, Fla., and was expected to make her season debut in the Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct in March. But a hind leg injury forced her to miss some time.

"We had to regroup," Violette said. "Didn't quite have to start over but had to have kind of a careful month."

Since resuming training, Dream Rush has been working swiftly at Aqueduct. Violette entered her in a richer, easier spot at Philadelphia Park on Saturday, but she will run in the Vagrancy. Dream Rush is 3 for 4 at Belmont, including a victory in the Grade 1 Prioress and Grade 2 Nassau County last year.

Dream Rush's only loss at Belmont came in the Grade 1 Acorn, when she set a rapid pace but was defeated by Cotton Blossom. Violette said Dream Rush was "on the bridle from the get-go" that day and was beaten by a filly "who ran the race of her life."

On Sunday, Dream Rush could face pace pressure from Any Limit, but then again she just may be able to outsprint that one for the early lead.

"She should be pretty sharp, it could be a beat-the-latch type of deal," Violette said. "I don't think Sunday is the day to take a hold of her."

The horse with the best chance of upsetting Dream Rush in the 6 1/2-furlong Vagrancy is Baroness Thatcher. Though she is only 2 for 17, Baroness Thatcher has lost three Grade 1 races by a combined margin of one length. That includes the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on May 3, when she was beaten a head by Intangaroo.

"We're coming back a little quick, but I guess past history shows she will run okay that way," trainer Bill Mott said.

Sangrita and Looky Yonder complete the field.

Bedside Story, entered in the Vagrancy, was scheduled to run in Saturday's My Juliet Stakes at Philadelphia Park instead, trainer Tony Dutrow said.