04/27/2007 11:00PM

Dreaming of Anna on for Oaks


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Funny how things can change in this game. One month trainer Wayne Catalano was saying Dreaming of Anna wouldn't make the Kentucky Oaks, and the next he was all but saying she's a cinch to win.

All it took was one swift tour of the Churchill Downs oval for such seismic change to occur. Dreaming of Anna, with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, posted the fastest time of six prospects working toward the Oaks on a busy Saturday morning at Churchill, and afterward, Catalano hardly could contain his enthusiasm.

"How can you not love how this horse is training?" he asked.

After completing five furlongs in a bullet 58.60 seconds over a fast Churchill main track, Dreaming of Anna galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.40.

"Shaun said she didn't want to pull up for him," said Catalano. "She's on her game, I'll tell you."

Although Dreaming of Anna, a Rahy filly bred and owned by Chicago-based Frank Calabrese, is winless in two starts this year, her status as reigning divisional champion, as well as her victory here last fall in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, is sure to earn her high respect leading into the $500,000 Oaks, which will be run Friday for the 133rd time. Rags to Riches, trained by Todd Pletcher, is sure to be the favorite in what shapes up as a full field of 14 3-year-old fillies, but after that, Dreaming of Anna could challenge the Pletcher-trained Octave for second choice in the wagering.

The sudden reemergence of Dreaming of Anna as an Oaks candidate occurred earlier this week when Catalano said he no longer could ignore the way the filly was training. After the filly was defeated in back-to-back February races

at Gulfstream Park, the Old Hat

and Gaily Gaily, Catalano had

effectively eliminated her as an Oaks prospect by mid-March, and Churchill did not even include her as one of the 23 separately listed entries in the third and final pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager conducted April 12-15.

Catalano said Dreaming of Anna "went through a growth spurt" this winter when she was training at Palm Meadows in south Florida. "She also had some female things going on, a little horsing," he said. "I'm glad we got some time to get over all that. Since then, she's really blossomed up."

Rene Douglas, who has ridden Dreaming of Anna in her last four starts, will retain the mount in the Oaks.

After leaving Palm Meadows, Dreaming of Anna had one work at Keeneland before Catalano shipped her Thursday to Churchill. The filly galloped over the track Friday, then worked Saturday. After the work, a jockey's agent was kidding with Catalano that Dreaming of Anna now makes the Oaks a two-horse race, with Rags to Riches, and Catalano kidded back, "Yeah, well, I hope it's a one-horse race - me."

In other Oaks works Saturday, High Heels went five furlongs in 1:00.40, Sealy Hill went five furlongs in 1:01.20, Cash Included went six furlongs in 1:14.40, Swift Temper went a half-mile in 47.80 seconds, and Autobahn Girl went five furlongs in 1:01.60.

With the connections of 16 fillies pointing to the race, Autobahn Girl stands to be one of two exclusions, along with Tough Tiz's Sis. The complete field will be known after entries are drawn Tuesday.

Besides the six Oaks workers at Churchill, two more also worked five furlongs Saturday over Polytrack at Keeneland, both for Pletcher. Octave went in 59.20 seconds, and Cotton Blossom in 1:00.40.

Octave returned from her work with some red coloration under protective tape covering the back of her right front ankle. Pletcher said the filly incurred a slightly torn quarter recently and that part of the coloring that was visible was from therapeutic paint used to treat the cut. Asked whether it was enough to jeopardize her running Friday, he replied, "Aw, naw."

Rags to Riches was scheduled to work Sunday at Keeneland, then ship Tuesday to Churchill with all the other top Pletcher horses.

Dime superfectas in the works

Although Churchill will not offer 10-cent superfectas on its races through the Kentucky Derby, the track has announced it will reverse previous policy and begin offering dime supers sometime during the week following the Derby, although a specific date has not yet been finalized.

Churchill's president, Steve Sexton, said he was willing to give dime supers a try, despite concerns they might not be worth the trouble. The track most likely will not offer them next year on Oaks or Kentucky Derby Days because dime supers tend to clog betting lines, which already is a major issue on those days.

Following the Derby this year, dime supers might be available at Churchill only at certain designated windows or self-service terminals.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman