10/16/2004 12:00AM

Dream of Summer goes long

Benoit & Associates
Dream of Summer (inside), with Mike Smith riding, edges Yearly Report (5) at the wire in the Cal Cup Matron.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Dream of Summer, already proven as a top female sprinter, added a new dimension to her career with a two-turn stakes win in Saturday's $150,000 at Santa Anita.

The victory came after a remarkable stretch duel with Yearly Report, a four-time stakes winner this year.

Dream of Summer, who set the pace, lost the lead to Yearly Report in midstretch but fought back along the rail to win by a nose. Ridden by Mike Smith, Dream of Summer ($10.20) finished the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.36.

"I knew she'd come back," trainer Juan Garcia said. "Mike was just waiting until the last moment to send her."

Yearly Report, the 4-5 favorite, finished six lengths clear of Summer Wind Dancer in third in the field of six fillies and mares.

At the top of the stretch, Yearly Report appeared poised to win comfortably. She rallied from fourth on the final turn to reach contention, but could not put away the winner.

"The other mare kicked in, but I thought we'd come back," said Bob Baffert, who trains Yearly Report. "Those are tough ones to lose."

The victory marked Dream of Summer's fifth consecutive win, a span that includes the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park and the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar during the summer.

The California Cup Matron was her first start since the Rancho Bernardo.

"She sure can go a distance," Smith said. "The whole key was getting her to relax. At about the eighth pole, she took a big deep breath and just filled herself up with a little more energy. She had enough to just hold on. She loves to fight."

Her longest-distance win previously was in the seven-furlong A Gleam.

Dream of Summer races for breeder James Weigel of Valencia. A 5-year-old, Dream of Summer has won 7 of 9 starts and $412,500.

Sprint: O'Neill duo runs one, two

Trainer Doug O'Neill swept the first two spots in the $150,000 with geldings who joined his barn via claims as the 3-year-old Areyoutalkintome outfought the 9-year-old Full Moon Madness in one of the highlights to Saturday's Cal Cup card at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.

Areyoutalkintome was never far off the pace, loomed menacingly at the top of the stretch, but could not get past his stablemate until the final yards. He prevailed by a head, with Green Team, the defending champion in the Cal Cup Sprint, another 2 1/2 lengths back in third.

Areyoutalkintome ($7), the favorite, completed six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:08.84

O'Neill claimed Areyoutalkintome out of a maiden-claiming race last Dec. 20 at Hollywood Park. Areyoutalkintome had won three races since then prior to Saturday.

Full Moon Madness was a much more recent addition to O'Neill's stable. He claimed the old warrior for $40,000 at Del Mar on Aug. 25, then freshened him for the Cal Cup. Full Moon Madness responded with one of his best races in months. He won this race in 2000.

Corey Nakatani rode Areyoutalkintome for a partnership of Dennis O'Neill, the trainer's brother, Ron Manzani, and Russ Sarno, for whom Areyoutalkintome has won four times and finished second five times in 10 starts this year.

- Jay Privman

Juvenile: Texcess survives bad start

Texcess is nothing if not opportunistic. He figured to be an outsider in the , but when morning-line favorite Top Money was scratched the morning of the race, and race favorite Lucky J.H. threw in a clunker in the afternoon, it was Texcess who got the money, rolling to a six-length victory.

And it did it despite breaking poorly while making only the second start of his career. But raw talent overrode the inexperience. Texcess quickly recovered from his poor start to stalk pacesetter Tizmanian Devil, then put that horse away at mid-stretch and drew clear.

Texcess ($8) ran 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:44.02. Generalist rallied for second, three lengths in front of Tizmanian Devil, who faded to third. Lucky J.H., off at even-money, finished fifth in the field of six.

Texcess had raced once previously, finishing second in the Barretts Juvenile during the Fairplex Park meeting. Paul Aguirre, who trains Texcess and owns him in partnership with Omar Aldabbagh, said he decided to come back in the Cal Cup because the purse was attractive.

"We were going to go anyway for $125,00," Aguirre said. "I know he's got that kind of ability, and generally in these Cal-bred juvenile races, the speed dominates early and then the late runners come in. I thought they'd run away from him early, but the way the race fell apart with the defections and everything, he was up on the pace."

Rene Douglas, who recently returned to Southern California and is atop the jockey standings, earned his first Cal Cup victory.

Texcess is by In Excess. Aguirre said he might look at a race like the Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs for his next start.

- Jay Privman

Distance: Test the Waters atones

Test the Waters atoned for a loss as the favorite in Del Mar's Solana Beach Handicap by proving a punctual favorite Saturday in the $100,000 , the first race on card.

Test The Waters ($5) had to await room patiently under Victor Espinoza for a mile of the 1 1/4-mile grass race, but when space developed between horses at the top of the stretch, she knifed her way through and drew off for a two-length victory.

"It was fortunate that she got covered up. The pace was so slow, she might have got loose and run off," said her trainer, Jeff Mullins. "When the hole opened up, she went for it."

Shalini, who was second in the 2002 Distance, rallied to finish second, one length in front of third-place Tucked Away.

Test The Waters completed 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:01.19. She completed the final half-mile in less than 48 seconds. Ran for the Dough, who faded to last in the field of seven, led after six furlongs in 1:13.47.

Test The Waters has now won three times in her last four starts, her lone setback in that streak coming in the Solana Beach, whose one-mile distance Mullins thinks was too short. A 5-year-old daughter of Chequer, she is owned by John Segar and Joe Thomas.

- Jay Privman

Starter Sprint: Ata Olympio 4 for 4

Ata Olympio remained unbeaten in four starts with a hard-fought win in the $50,000 .

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Ata Olympio fought between Smoke Till Dawn and Forward March through early fractions of 21.29 and 44.10 seconds and pulled clear in the final furlong to win by 3 1/2 lengths. Ata Olympio was timed in 1:09.48.

Four Checker rallied from last to finish second, a length in front of Mysterious Cat.

Ata Olympio ($4.40) races for trainer E.G. Burnison's Circle B Ranch.

- Steve Andersen

Starter: Ring of Friendship wires 'em

Ring of Friendship led throughout the $50,000 over 1 1/2 miles on turf to score the most important win of his 11-race career.

Ridden by Gary Stevens, Ring of Friendship ($6) scored by a half-length over 2002 winner Noble Kinsman, who won an $8,000 claiming race in his last start at Fairplex Park. Gobi Dan finished third in the field of 10.

Ring of Friendship led by as many as 1 1/2 lengths, but was fully extended to hold off Noble Kinsman.

The Starter Handicap was restricted to horses that had started in claiming races for $40,000 or less this year.

Ring of Friendship races for Nico Nierenberg and trainer Paddy Gallagher. Ring of Friendship has won 3 of 11 starts and $76,642.

- Steve Andersen