12/06/2001 12:00AM

'Dreams' meets males on short rest

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NEW ORLEANS - A day showcasing Louisiana-breds would have a gaping hole if the best Louisiana-bred in training were absent. Though she raced only a week ago, Hallowed Dreams will make her second Louisiana Champions Day appearance when she heads the $100,000 Champions Day Sprint on Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Besides the short down time, Hallowed Dreams faces another serious challenge, Kettle Man, winner of all four of his races this year and the dominant sprinter this summer at Louisiana Downs.

Their matchup makes the Sprint the most compelling race on a Champions Day program that consists of 10 races with a combined value of $1 million, seven for Thoroughbreds and three for Quarter Horses. Eight of the races are worth $100,000, and the others are the $150,000 Classic and the $50,000 Starter.

Hallowed Dreams won the Champions Day Lassie here two years ago and is gunning for her 26th win in 28 starts. She races on the Fair Grounds dirt for the first time since she set a six-furlong track record of 1:08.34 in the Victoria Lass Handicap.

It is easy to forget that less than a year ago many questioned whether Hallowed Dreams could even compete in quality open stakes races. But racing in Louisiana and Texas, on turf and on dirt, she has taken on all comers in the female sprint division and proven vastly superior, and she also has beaten males on several occasions.

What's new is the short rest. Trainer Lloyd Romero, who owns Hallowed Dreams in partnership with Johnny Gaspard, has generally given the filly time between starts. But Hallowed Dreams had a light campaign during the second part of this year, and her win a week ago in the Leggio Handicap was little more than a public workout. "I just let her run in the stretch," said jockey Sylvester Carmouche.

Hallowed Dreams is a speed horse, but Carmouche said she does not have to be on the lead. And she might not be Saturday, since Kettle Man, drawn two stalls to her outside, has blazing speed. Kettle Man, who is owned by Phyllis Wood and trained by Cole Norman, finished 10th in the Sprint last year, but has been untouchable in his 2001 campaign, earning a 114 Beyer Speed Figure while winning his last race, the Island Whirl Handicap.

The 12-horse field also includes former Champions Day Juvenile winners Bet Me Best and Early Goer.

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