03/16/2007 12:00AM

Irish Dreamer goes for hot barn


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Trainer Chris Richard won with six consecutive starters at one point this week at Oaklawn Park, and on Sunday he will send out one of the top horses in his barn, stakes winner Irish Dreamer, in the featured ninth race.

A second-level allowance, the one-mile race drew a competitive group of six, including stakes winner Slew by Slew and Storm Force.

Meanwhile, Irish Dreamer will be trying something new. Sunday's race will be his first start around two turns. He comes into it off a second-place finish in the $50,000 Mountain Valley Stakes here Feb. 24. One start earlier, Irish Dreamer won the $50,000 Dixieland, on opening day at Oaklawn. There are a couple of reasons for the move to two turns, Richard said.

"We're wanting to try and maybe stretch him out, and it's almost an extended sprint here with the start and the finish at the sixteenth pole," he said. "And being that the race going short did not go, this was really the only other spot for him.

"He needs to run," Richard added. "He's doing great, so he needs to run."

Irish Dreamer will break from posto5 under Calvin Borel.

"I anticipate him being somewhere up front, but if somebody wants it, they're more than welcome to it," Richard said. "But he's just naturally very fast. I think just because of his natural ability, he's going to be up front."

Richard began his streak on March 11, when he won with all three starters he had on the card at Oaklawn. He then had a double when racing resumed here Wednesday, and he won the nightcap on Thursday. His streak ended Friday, when his first-time starter Dearest Beauty finished off the board in the sixth race. The streak was a personal best for Richard, 35, who began training on his own 18 months ago after serving as an assistant to trainer Tom Amoss.

"When I worked for Tom Amoss, we went through a streak where in a two-day period we won like nine races," said Richard. "I don't remember if it was all nine in a row. It might have been seven in a row. It was all over the country.

"As far as me personally, the best I had done was two in a row. It doesn't happen often, you just appreciate it."

Richard ranked second in the trainer standings through Thursday, with 16 wins from 34 starts - a 47opercent win rate.