11/10/2006 12:00AM

Nicole's Dream can make exit as a winner


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For Nicole's Dream, it has been one sensational run since she made her career debut in obscurity by finishing third in a half-mile maiden race at Great Lakes Downs on Aug. 16, 2002.

The 53rd and final start for Nicole's Dream will come Sunday in the $100,000 Pent Up Kiss at Churchill Downs. Larry Rivelli, who has trained the 6-year-old mare for her last 35 races, is hoping she goes out in style by tacking onto her impressive career totals of 24 wins and $815,164 in earnings.

"This is her last hurrah," said Rivelli. "It looks like an easier race than her last one, for sure. It'd be great to see her go out with a nice win."

Nicole's Dream, owned by the Dare to Dream Stable, figures to fare considerably better than she did nine days beforehand, when another fleet mare, Unbridled Sidney, crushed a terrific field of males and females in the $285,000 Cherokee Run Stakes over the Churchill turf. Nicole's Dream faded to eighth.

"That really was a tough race," said Rivelli, noting that an inside post put Nicole's Dream in a difficult chasing position. "With an outside post Sunday, hopefully we'll be able to get a lot better trip."

Nicole's Dream, with Rafael Bejarano to ride, will break from post 8 in a field of nine fillies and mares entered in the Pent Up Kiss, a five-furlong turf sprint carded as the ninth of 10 Sunday races. Among the challengers bidding to spoil the farewell party for Nicole's Dream, perhaps the top threat will come from Smitty's Sunshine, More Than Pretty, or Beautiful Bets.

Smitty's Sunshine, with Robby Albarado to ride, has been beating up on lesser competition in Louisiana, but has earned some nice Beyer Speed Figures in doing so. She also has the kind of early speed to keep pace with Nicole's Dream.

More Than Pretty, with leading rider Calvin Borel back aboard, might have needed her last race, when she faded to ninth on the Keeneland Polytrack. Three starts back, More Than Pretty, a 3-year-old trained by the Bernie Flint, captured the Open Mind over the Churchill turf.

Beautiful Bets, with Willie Martinez to ride, is a tough and versatile mare who was good enough to win the Grade 3 Turfway Breeders' Cup two starts ago. A wicked pace surely would facilitate her late kick.

The rest of the field is Golden Voice, Winged Wishes, Bucky's Prayer, Victory Spy, and Lady Wrangler. First post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.