12/20/2006 1:00AM

'Dream' will get a shot at Oaklawn

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CHICAGO - Most Illinois-bred stakes horses are getting ready for a winter vacation this time of year, with the remaining days of the 2006 Chicago Thoroughbred season dwindling to a precious few and no good place to run until next spring. But I Got a Dream, who won the Jim Edgar Futurity last Saturday at Hawthorne, will go on to Oaklawn Park with trainer Chris Richard to see how he fits in with open stakes horses.

I Got a Dream won his career debut Sept. 30 at Hawthorne by 7 1/4 lengths in a sprint race, but he appears to be a better horse at two turns. He finished second to Mare's Ex in an entry-level allowance prep for the Edgar, and he led all the way in the Edgar, beating heavily favored and previously unbeaten Caruso.

"At this point our tentative plan is to have him go to Oaklawn with me and see how he handles open company," said Richard, who is considering a second-level allowance in late January for I Got a Dream."If he handles it, he'll stay down there."

If he doesn't, Richard intends to give I Got a Dream a break and point him for Hawthorne's spring meet.

I Got a Dream won the Edgar despite pulling off his left-front shoe at the start.

Richard could also have a horse for Oaklawn's opening day 3-year-old stakes - the Mountain Valley on Jan. 19 - if Irish Dreamer performs well in a Dec. 26 allowance race at Hawthorne. Irish Dreamer was a good-looking midsummer debut winner at Arlington, and though he has lost four starts since then, Irish Dreamer finished third last out in a Keeneland allowance race.

Irish Dreamer, in fact, was kind of the horse that helped turn around Richard's season. Richard went out on his own only two years ago, and when he came to Arlington from Oaklawn this past spring, his stable was down to six horses.

But Dr. Vilasini Jayaraman, who has extensive racehorse holdings, saw Richard's name pop up at Arlington, remembered him favorably from his time as an assistant to Tom Amoss, and sent him a couple 2-year-olds; the first was Irish Dreamer. That set things in a better direction, and Richard now has the stock to fill up 25 stalls at the upcoming Oaklawn meet.

Caruso gets a vacation

Caruso, second at odds of 2-5 in the Jim Edgar, came out of the race without any problems despite stumbling at the gate - though trainer Richard Hazelton said he almost wished he had found a particular reason for Caruso's surprising loss.

"That took all the wind out of us," Hazelton said of Caruso's defeat.

Hazelton said he had stopped training Caruso, who won't race again until next year.

* Star By Design, who has come around sharply for Hazelton the last several months, also is done for the year. Star By Design was to have started in an allowance race last Saturday, but developed a hind-foot abscess that took him out of training.

* An entry-level allowance carded for 1 1/16 miles on dirt serves as the Friday feature. The race drew 10 entries and could have A.J.'s Conquest, who finished second in his most recent race, as the favorite.