04/28/2004 11:00PM

Nicole's Dream best in Mamzelle

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Passed and seemingly beaten inside the furlong pole, Nicole's Dream rallied back to edge Tangier Sound in the final jumps to win the $117,700 Mamzelle Stakes at Churchill Downs on Thursday.

Nicole's Dream, ridden by Robby Albarado and trained by Chicago-based Larry Rivelli, led most of the way in the Mamzelle, a five-furlong grass race. Inside the eighth pole, Tangier Sound took over and appeared en route to victory, but Nicole's Dream came back to prevail by a nose.

"She's game, really game," said Albarado. "That outside filly got well in front of her, and she dug back in and got her. She likes to win races."

Nicole's Dream, a 4-year-old Florida-bred owned by Dare to Dream Stable, returned $6.40 as second choice in a field of nine fillies and mares. She finished in 56.40 seconds over a firm course when winning for the 12th time in 24 career starts.

Big Score finished another neck back in third, followed by Repository in fourth and Any for Love, the 8-5 favorite, in fifth. Dyna Da Wyna, the morning-line favorite, was an early scratch.

Nicole's Dream has developed into quite the turf-sprint specialist, having won eight of 10 starts at five furlongs on turf. By Northern Trend, she got most of the winter off before returning with a fourth-place finish in a Tampa Bay Downs allowance race that was transferred from turf to dirt.

"At the top of the lane, I had my doubts," said Rivelli. "That's the first time she's ever lost the lead and had to come again. Robby did a good job and kept her rolling. She has a lot of heart, and she sure showed it today."

The exacta returned $38 and the trifecta paid $331.80.