02/17/2007 1:00AM

Going Ballistic tests late kick in Southwest

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Going Ballistic is the most proven closer in the $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Monday, and it appears there will be ample speed to fuel his late run. He has already won two stakes at the one-mile distance of the race, having come to hand quickly last year when he began running around two turns in July.

"He'll be off the pace, no doubt," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Going Ballistic for Mike and Mary Kindred. "I think that he just likes to settle in early in the race, and then do his running later on.

"We just hope there's some pace for him to run at. Pace is what makes your late run good, or not good."

Going Ballistic stepped up his game when he moved to two turns in his third career start, drawing off by 5 1/4 lengths in a maiden race at Lone Star Park on July 20. He was then supplemented to the $100,000 El Joven at Retama Park on Sept. 2, and closed from 11th for a neck win over the future stakes winner Western Prize.

Both races were on turf and were a means of development for Going Ballistic, a son of the sprinter Lite the Fuse who moved to dirt in October and closed from 12 lengths back to win the $100,000 MEC Mile at Remington Park.

"You look at Lite the Fuse, you're not thinking he's a turf horse," said Von Hemel. "The races were just a chance to run two turns before there was anything on the dirt that would give him an opportunity to do that."

The Southwest will be Going Ballistic's first start since he finished fourth in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25.

"I thought it was a good effort against definitely the stiffest competition that we'd encountered to that point, and I'm looking forward to Monday and trying on a couple more of these horses, see what they're all about," said Von Hemel. "I think the horse is ready to run, and that we'll run a good race."

Cliff Berry has the mount on Going Ballistic.

I Got a Dream goes for hot barn

I Got a Dream, who hails from one of the hottest barns on the grounds, will make his first start against open company in the Southwest after winning the $105,000 Illinois Futurity at 1 1/16 miles at Hawthorne on Dec. 16.

"We're going to kind of test him here and see if he can be competitive with these horses," said Chris Richard, who trains I Got a Dream.

Richard, a 35-year-old former assistant to trainer Tom Amoss, was 6 for 14 at the meet through Thursday, for a 43 percent win rate. He also is 1 for 1 in stakes this meet, having sent out Irish Dreamer to win the $50,000 Dixieland on opening day. I Got a Dream will break from post 2 on Monday.

"He's got good tactical speed," said Richard. "He'll probably be tracking the leaders."

Richard has given the mount to Eddie Razo Jr.