12/16/2006 1:00AM

I Got a Dream beats stumbling fave


STICKNEY, Ill. - On paper, it looked like the undefeated Caruso could lose Saturday's Jim Edgar Futurity if his pedigree, perhaps oriented more to sprints than routes, tripped him up in late stretch. Instead it was a stumble out of the gate that did him in. Caruso almost went down his first stride into the Edgar, leaving I Got a Dream on the early lead, a lead he never relinquished.

Caruso tried to get him, making several thrusts at the lead, but I Got a Dream finished the better of the pair, gradually pulling away through the final half-furlong to win the $105,175 Edgar by a length. Marksmilk Is White, a 56-1 shot in a seven-horse field, finished third.

In fact, bettors regarded the 1 1/16-mile Edgar as virtually a two-horse race, with 5-2 second-choice I Got a Dream getting pounded late in the betting, paying $7.80 to win. I Got a Dream, bred and owned by Howard Nelson, was seen by some as a viable alternative to Caruso because I Got a Dream had gotten a two-turn race onto his resume, finishing a solid second in an Illinois-bred allowance race here Nov. 24, while Caruso was making his first start beyond six furlongs.

"Normally I wouldn't bring a

2-year-old back in two weeks," said trainer Chris Richard, who scored the richest win of his two-year training career. "I thought it would be effective with this horse."

I Got a Dream and jockey Eddie Razo, who said he came back from an early-meet shoulder injury in great part to get back aboard I Got a Dream, carved out fractions of 24.53 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 48.88 for the half, and 1:14.43 for six furlongs on the way to a final time of 1:48.28.

"He was just loping from the three-eighths," Razo said. "I think if someone would have come to him, he could have kicked back on."

Caruso appeared unharmed by his stumble, but the misstep might have cost him the race, jockey Carlos Silva said.

"He broke so hard the ground broke away from him," Silva said. "I'm probably going to be on the lead if he doesn't stumble."

Instead, Caruso was three-wide on the first turn and suffered his first defeat after three sharp sprint wins to start his career.