08/20/2001 11:00PM

Hallowed Dreams bids for No. 24 Sunday


Hallowed Dreams, a winner of 23 of 24 races, is expected to make her first start back since undergoing minor surgery in the $50,000 Monique Rene Handicap at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La., on Sunday.

Hallowed Dreams has not raced for the last two months, and during that time had surgery to remove a growth from her girthline. She showed her eagerness to return to racing last Saturday when she breezed five furlongs in a bullet 59.80 seconds under regular rider Sylvester Carmouche at Evangeline Downs. The second-fastest worker of nine at the distance that morning was clocked in 1:03.

"She's ready to run," said trainer Lloyd Romero, who co-owns Hallowed Dreams with Johnny Gaspard. "She's come back good, and right now, we expect to go in the Monique Rene. The only reason we wouldn't is if it is really hot out, or if the track comes up muddy."

Hallowed Dreams is highweighted at 123 pounds for the Monique Rene, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares. Others probable for the race are Midge Too, winner of the $40,000 Suthern Accent on July 7, and the Cole Norman-trained pair of Cinderella Story and Lady Virginia.

Hallowed Dreams last raced June 23, winning the $75,000 Miller Lite Stakes at Lone Star Park. She has won her last seven races, and to date has earned $662,943.

LeBlanc, the dominator

Jockey Kirk LeBlanc, who capped his outstanding race week with a $63.20 winner on Monday, continues to dominate the riding colony at Louisiana Downs. The jockey has won 61 races through the first 34 days of the meet to hold a 28-win advantage in the standings over second-leading rider Anthony Lovato. Last year, LeBlanc finished second in the standings, five wins behind Lovato.

LeBlanc won three races at Louisiana Downs Saturday before traveling to Evangeline Downs the same night to win that track's premier race for older horses, the $75,000 Evangeline Mile, with Two Punch Sunny ($15.80). It was a meaningful win for LeBlanc, who won multiple titles Evangeline Downs before moving on to Louisiana Downs five years ago.

When he was based at Evangeline, LeBlanc was a regular rider for two of the meet's leading trainers, Don Cormier and Keith Bourgeois. Since moving to Louisiana Downs, however, LeBlanc has not relied on one or two major stables to help propel him to the top of the standings.

"I ride for pretty much everybody," said LeBlanc. "When you have a big stable, you ride for them no matter what and it's a little easier than going out there and hustling horses. But the big outfits that I rode for are not based here. So basically, that leaves me with a lot of work to do."

LeBlanc credited his longtime agent Tony Martin with keeping his long list of clients happy, and with choosing the right mounts. LeBlanc said he will ride at Fair Grounds after the Louisiana Downs season concludes.

* LeBlanc and Bourgeois will team together in the featured ninth race Thursday with Rising Rhythm. The one-mile turf race for fillies and mares who have never won three races carries a purse of $21,000. The horse to beat appears to be Mama Ruth, who finished a game second at this level July 29.

* Nuclear Assembly, who improved his record to four wins from five starts when he captured last Saturday's $40,000 Pioneer, will make his next start in the $40,000 Minstrel at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 8, said trainer Brent Davidson.