04/17/2005 11:00PM

Mare goes for fifth win in row


Rue des Reves turned into an unstoppable force on the Fair Grounds turf course this past summer, but it is many miles from New Orleans to Grand Prairie, Texas, and an entirely different game racing on the Lone Star grass. If Rue des Reves holds her form, she will have an excellent chance to notch her fifth straight win in the featured eighth race Wednesday at Lone Star, but there is also the chance that a change in circumstances will bring her streak to an end.

After all, Rue des Reves came a long way in a short time. In May, the mare was claimed for $6,500 out of a claiming race at Mountaineer Park. At the time, she had made 15 starts, and only one of them on grass, and turf was what she clearly wanted. In September, she won at all-turf Kentucky Downs, and at Fair Grounds she won three $10,000 starter-allowance races and an entry-level allowance after finishing second last Dec. 30 in a $25,000 claimer.

And , trained by Dwight Viator, was winning like clockwork. Each time, she would track a moderate pace and pass the leaders in the final quarter-mile. Her tactical speed is an asset at Lone Star, which has shorter, firmer turf and tighter turns than the Fair Grounds course. Skip Irish, who also dominated starter-allowance grass races at Fair Grounds, finished ninth as the odds-on favorite over this course on Saturday.

The winner of that starter handicap was Watchman's Warning. Bret Calhoun trains that horse, and Calhoun might have the best chance to take down Rue des Reves in Wednesday's second-level, one-mile allowance race.

Calhoun's horse is , who joined his stable after the Fair Grounds meet, and will be making her first start at Lone Star. Bonanza Jellybean has no apparent fondness for the Fair Grounds turf course, which tends to flame out speed horses like her, and her entry-level allowance victory came last summer at Ellis Park, where turf speed holds well, much as it does at Lone Star. Neither is the Calhoun factor alone to be discounted.

After going winless on opening night last Thursday, Calhoun sent out three winners Friday and two more each on Saturday and Sunday, and through Lone Star's first racing week he was tied atop the trainer standings - 7 to 7 - with Steve Asmussen.