05/29/2001 11:00PM

Meet Miss Underappreciated


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Maybe I'm missing something. I was led to believe that horses who win lots of races are a good thing, deserving of praise and a degree of recognition. I was under the impression that such animals, given the right kind of attention, can be transformed into the superstars that horse racing so badly needs to tickle the national fancy.

Apparently, I have been misled. Otherwise, instead of moaning over the lack of a Triple Crown winner, everyone would be talking about Hallowed Dreams.

Remember her? The filly who loses a race about once every lifetime? She began her career winning 16 straight, lost one, and now has won six more. Number 22 out of 23 came Monday, making Memorial Day even more memorable to her underground army of fans.

The race was the Valid Expectations Stakes. The place was Lone Star Park. But for all the attention she got, it might as well have been run on the dark side of the moon. Simulcast customers got to watch her performance live - along with the other half a million holiday races glutting the atmosphere.

Insomniacs might have caught part of her tape late that night on ESPN's 2Day at the Races. But then, on ESPN's widely viewed "Racehorse Digest" airing Wednesday, there was nary a mention of Hallowed Dreams.

A few phone calls were made to find out why, but no clear answer could be found. Never mind. Our fine readers do not deserve to be subjected to such tedious shoptalk. Anyway, if you really want to know how the sausage of television is made, you need a very strong stomach. At the end of the day, Hallowed Dreams was like the tree falling in the deserted forest. If no one bore witness, did it really happen?

You bet it did. Bigtime, with all of her usual flair. And this time she did it on the road, vanning from her home at Evangeline Downs in southern Louisiana, across the Texas state line, to the big city of Dallas - or at least Grand Prairie - where she walked her beat by 2 1/2 lengths, getting six furlongs in 1:08.34.

"Everything went perfect," said her trainer and co-owner, Lloyd Romero. "I couldn't have asked for better.

"It rained a little, but they had sealed the track, and in no time at all it was good. She's not a mud horse, and I wouldn't have run her in the mud. But they had the track fixed up in two races."

While Hallowed Dreams was at the top of her game, things were going wrong for Romero. His ongoing battle with Parkinson's disease took a nasty turn on Monday, just when he deserved to enjoy the view. Instead of basking in the glow of Hallowed Dreams and her 22nd victory, he had to lay low before and after the race and leave the talking to jockey Sylvester Carmouche. As usual, Carmouche was left pretty much speechless.

"I have these mini-seizures, and I had a couple of them before the race," Romero said. "I just have to deal with them as they are. I'm on a medication that helps control the shakes, but they're unable to control the little seizures.

"When it happens I've got to be someplace where there's nobody speaking at me, where I've got to be by myself. That's why I don't travel with the mare so much. It puts a lot of stress on my body."

At times like that, Romero counts on assistant trainer Selina Bremmerman to take over the Hallowed Dreams Show, and she has done a brilliant job.

"Selina, she's like her mother," Romero said of Hallowed Dreams.

"They know each other. Selina calls her name, she always nickers."

Romero does not know where his filly will run next.

"She'll make more money," he said. "But as far as I'm concerned, she doesn't have to make another dollar. You know what I pull for when she goes in a race? That she comes back sound, win or lose."

Romero's wish was granted again this week. Hallowed Dreams vanned back home to Evangeline on Tuesday and dived deep into her feed tub. By Wednesday morning Romero was feeling better himself.

"We made sure she was walking fine, and eating all her feed," he said.

"She's a hog, and she'll let you know when she hasn't had enough.

"I think she's still growing, still getting better," Romero added. "She keeps repeating all her good times and all her good races. We're so proud of her. I still don't know how she lost that one race. It's still hard to imagine. She's been so consistent, and then to get beat by nothing. I guess maybe if she didn't lose that one, people would think she was bionic."

Instead, Hallowed Dreams is flesh and blood, and reliable as the dawn. It's the perfect recipe for a hero.