08/23/2012 3:43PM

Dreamin Big eyes 4 straight in Merrillville


Older Indiana-breds will face off in a pair of $84,000 stakes at Hoosier Park on Saturday. Both the Merrillville for fillies and mares and the Brickyard for males will be contested at six furlongs.

Dreamin Big will be going for her fourth consecutive victory in the Merrillville. Trained by Mike Lauer, Dreamin Big won an open allowance event going a mile and 70 yards on June 19 by 4 1/2 lengths in ridden-out fashion at Indiana Downs. The 4-year-old filly then won the Florence Henderson on July 11, her first win on turf, also at Indiana Downs.

In her last out, at Hoosier Park on Aug. 1, Dreamin Big won the six-furlong Merrillville prep by nearly six lengths, earning a lifetime-best Beyer Speed Figure of 74. Dreamin Big has come from off the pace in her last three wins, a style that should suit her well in this speed-laden field of eight.

Dreamin Big has won 6 of 14 lifetime starts, while finishing second in her other eight attempts. Francisco Torres retains the mount.

Facey's Spirit looks to be one of the speed horses that Dreamin Big will be chasing. A 4-year-old trained by Chris Dorris, she won the Shelby County at Indiana Downs on May 26 in gate-to-wire fashion. Facey's Spirit has had the  lead at the first call in her last 11 dirt races. Facey's Spirit had a nice five-furlong work last Saturday, second best of 23 at the distance that day. Constantino Roman will ride for the first time.

Aint She a Saint will be facing her elders again after a win and a second in stakes company against horses her own age. On June 20, the Jeff Greenhill trainee won the Ellens Lucky Star on the turf at Indiana Downs and then finished second in the $200,000 First Lady July 11. Both were turn events and the turn back to six furlongs may be to her liking. Fernando De La Cruz will ride.

◗ Hard Luck Monk won the Brickyard prep Aug. 2 and will try to replicate that performance in the Brickyard. The 3-year-old gelding faced all but four of Saturday's 11 entrants in the prep, an event that he won by nearly two lengths. Trained by Mike Nance, Hard Luck Monk has won 4 of 9 lifetime and 2 of 5 locally. A gelded son of Hunting Hard, he had the second-fastest of 20 works at Hoosier last Saturday and appears to be at the top of his game. Rodney Prescott retains the mount.

Pass the Crown won the 2011 Brickyard and is one of the four entrants Saturday who wasn't in the prep. Trained by Merrill Roberts, he finished a fast-closing second at Hoosier on Aug. 3 going six furlongs in an optional claiming event. Pass the Crown earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 79, the highest last-race Beyer of anyone in the field. Marlon St. Julien will ride.