12/09/2005 1:00AM

Dream of Summer's for real

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Dream of Summer has already had a standout season this year. She won her first Grade 1 in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn in April and surpassed $1 million in earnings with a victory in the California Cup Matron Handicap at Santa Anita last month.

When she starts in Sunday's $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park, Dream of Summer will be attempting to win the seventh stakes of her career in a race designed as a prep to the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28.

In several ways, will be difficult to oppose in the Bayakoa, which is run over 1 1/16 miles. Not only is she coming off a solid win, but she has proven to like Hollywood Park, where she won the A Gleam Handicap in 2004.

"She's looking good. She won easy last time," trainer Juan Garcia said. "He didn't really have to push her."

Throughout her career, Dream of Summer has been effective as a pacesetter or a stalker, which will give jockey Patrick Valenzuela options.

"She can run either way. You can rate her if you want to take her back," Garcia said.

The Grade 2 Bayakoa has drawn a field of 13, but some fillies are not certain starters. Cream Donut Keith could start in the La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 31.

Aside from Dream of Summer, who carries topweight of 122 pounds, other leading contenders are Girl Warrior, Island Fashion, and Star Parade.

has won two stakes this year: the Grade 2 El Encino Stakes at Santa Anita in January and the Miss American Handicap on turf at Golden Gate Fields in October. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Girl Warrior is dangerous as a stalker.

is seeking to rebound after a dismal 10th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Winless in her last 11 starts, Island Fashion drew the outside post. She was an intended starter in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes on turf, but that race was canceled after Hollywood Park announced it would not race on turf at this meeting because of poor course conditions.

Despite the losing streak, Island Fashion has run well in some recent races. She was second in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap here in July.

, winless in nine starts since the Grade 1 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap here in 2004, has worked well since finishing third in the Las Palmas Handicap at Santa Anita last month.