04/25/2007 12:00AM

Dreaming of Anna may re-route to Oaks


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer Wayne Catalano said Wednesday morning from Keeneland that he and owner Frank Calabrese are seriously considering running Dreaming of Anna next Friday in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, contrary to what they had been planning for weeks.

Dreaming of Anna is the reigning divisional champion, having gone unbeaten in 2006 when she capped her 2-year-old season with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, but she is winless in two starts so far at 3. Catalano said Dreaming of Anna "has just been training so well lately" that he and Calabrese are on the brink of entering her in the Oaks on Tuesday, despite having said last month that they intended to pass the race.

"I don't know why a person would pass it up," he said.

Catalano said he was making arrangements to have Dreaming of Anna shipped to Churchill, where he planned to have her gallop one morning and breeze the next. Since shipping north from the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida several weeks ago, Dreaming of Anna had been training over the Keeneland Polytrack, where on Aprilo14 she breezed five furlongs in 1:01. The workout was her first since she finished second, beaten a half-length, as the 4-5 favorite at Gulfstream Park in the Gaily Gaily Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes. By late March, Catalano said the Oaks was no longer under consideration, and Churchill even dropped the filly from the 23 separately listed wagering interests for the third and final pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, conducted April 12-15. Dreaming of Anna closed at 7-1 in Pool 1 and 9-1 in Pool 2.

Catalano noted that Dreaming of Anna, a homebred by Rahy, won the BC Juvenile Fillies at Churchill last fall after winning a turf stakes, the Grade 3 Summer at Woodbine.

"She's doing as good now as she was going into the Breeders' Cup," he said. "Maybe history can repeat itself."

If Dreaming of Anna runs - and Catalano emphasized Wednesday that he and Calabrese still are "only thinking about it, depending on how she works there at Churchill" - then the number of Oaks prospects would stand at 16. As things stood Wednesday afternoon, and with the Oaks field limited to 14, that would mean Autobahn Girl, trained by Nick Zito, and Tough Tiz's Sis, trained by Bob Baffert, would be excluded based on graded earnings.

The Todd Pletcher duo of Rags to Riches and Octave figure as the top two favorites in the 133rd Oaks.

Safari Queen an easy Bewitch winner

Safari Queen was a useful stakes and allowance filly last year at a mile to 1 1/8 miles on turf. But going 1 1/2 miles, she has been unbeatable.

Wednesday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Bewitch Stakes, she pushed her record in 1 1/2-mile races to 4 for 4 with an effortless two-length victory over Barancella before a crowd of 9,625 at Keeneland.

Favored at 2-5, she looked the part of a winner from start to finish, stalking pacesetting Moon Berry through slow splits and outquickening the opposition through the stretch. She scored comfortably under John Velazquez, completing 1o1/2 miles on a firm course in 2:28.75.

Runner-up Barancella performed well in defeat but was no match, despite getting six pounds from the winner. She finished 12 lengths clear of Moon Berry in third.

Maxine's Hymn, Indy Trouble, and Mama I'm Home completed the order of finish. Zulu Queen was scratched.

Safari Queen ($2.80), a 5-year-old Argentine-bred daughter of Lode owned by Arindel Farm, picked up her fourth stakes victory from her last five starts.

Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said the key to her development in recent starts was her being stretched out to race in turf marathons.

"That's where we found her niche," he said.

The Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap at Belmont Park, a turf race at 1 3/8 miles, is under consideration for her next start, he said.

Full field expected for Derby Trial

A full field of 14 3-year-olds is scheduled to clash Saturday in the $100,000 Derby Trial, the opening-day feature of the 2007 spring meet at Churchill.

Bwana Bull and Out of Gwedda look like the logical favorites in the Trial, which also drew Teuflesberg, a colt who is likely to be scratched because it now appears he will make the 20-horse cutoff for the Kentucky Derby a week later.

Although for many years the Trial had been a Grade 3 race at a mile, it since has lost its grade and been shortened to 7 1/2 furlongs.

Sea of Pleasure out of training

Sea of Pleasure, a 2-year-old who set the track record for two furlongs at Santa Anita when winning his March 29 debut in 20.78 seconds, has been taken out of training and eliminated from the $150,000 Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes on May 3, Thursday of Derby Week.

Bruno de Julio, one of the co-owners in the Illinois-bred colt, said Sea of Pleasure will be returned shortly to California to recuperate from an unspecified minor injury. Sea of Pleasure had been shipped to trainer Wally Dollase in Kentucky a few days after winning at Santa Anita for trainer Shane Chipman.

Cara Rafaela named top broodmare

Darley Stable and their mare Cara Rafaela were among the honorees at the 2006 awards luncheon held Wednesday at Keeneland by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders.

Cara Rafaela is the dam of Bernardini, the Darley star who was voted 3-year-old of the year last year. Cara Rafaela won Broodmare of the Year, and Darley won the P.A.B. Widener Award Trophy as outstanding breeder. Nearly 20 other individuals, horses, or organizations were honored at the luncheon.

* Robert Evans, the president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Inc., was honored Wednesday morning by being invited to ring the opening bell of the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York. The date marked the 14th anniversary of Churchill stock trading on Nasdaq and also served as a kickoff for activities leading to the Derby on May 5.

- additional reporting by Byron King