11/30/2005 12:00AM

Nicole's Dream chasing riches in Hong Kong


CHICAGO - Nicole's Dream specializes in turf sprints, and her talent has taken her to stakes races all over the country. This week, she has gone even farther - to Hong Kong for a super-rich stakes engagement on Dec. 11.

Nicole's Dream arrived at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong on Tuesday night, according to her trainer, Larry Rivelli. Her trip from Chicago took some 18 hours, and included a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska, but everything was first class, arranged and paid for by Nicole's Dream's Hong Kong hosts.

"They had 10 vets waiting for her when she got off the plane," Rivelli said.

Rivelli himself travels to Hong Kong on Monday, giving him the better part of a week to put the final touches on Nicole's Dream's training. Most of the work already has been done. Nicole's Dream finished fifth in a dirt race Nov. 6 at Hawthorne, and though she did not run especially well, the performance served the greater purpose of moving Nicole's Dream toward her major goal. Rivelli gave her one final half-mile dirt work here Nov. 25, and now it is on to the big money.

Nicole's Dream runs in the Hong Kong Sprint, worth about $1,289,660 in U.S. currency and contested at 1,000 meters, or about five furlongs, on a straight course. Rivelli excitedly noted Wednesday that Silent Witness, a two-time Hong Kong Sprint winner and the best Far East sprinter of recent years, finished fifth in a trial race this week, and probably would be scratched from next weekend's race.

"I really think we got a good shot now," Rivelli said. "She's doing super."

Nicole's Dream, owned by a Dare to Dream Stable partnership, is a 16-time turf winner, but a victory in Hong Kong would more than double her career bankroll.

Last Gran Standing works for Jim Edgar

Last Gran Standing had an easy five-furlong workout on Wednesday at Hawthorne, a sign that he ought to be ready for the Jim Edgar Futurity on Dec. 17 at Hawthorne.

Last Gran Standing was officially timed in 1:06 by Hawthorne clockers, but trainer Brian Williamson was not looking for speed. In great part, he was testing Last Gran Standing's hoof, which was injured at the start of the Nov. 12 Sun Power Stakes. Bloodied, Last Gran Standing won anyway, giving him three wins to start his career.

Last Gran Standing, Williamson said, has trained lightly since the Sun Power. He has never shown signs of soreness on the injured hoof, but the wound "was sort of slow healing," Williamson said.

Last Gran Standing's hoof appeared to hold up decently in Wednesday breeze, but Williamson said he still was considering having a patch applied by a blacksmith.

"I haven't patched it yet, but I might put a little patch on there still," he said.

Meanwhile, Williamson said that Straight Line, who ran poorly last weekend in the Cigar Mile, will be getting a breather on a Kentucky farm. Williamson oversaw Straight Line's training for much of this season, but the horse ran for Williamson's father-in-law, Harvey Vanier, after shipping to Kentucky this fall. Williamson said that Vanier, breaking with tradition, would not winter in Florida this season.

"They'll keep some training in Kentucky this winter, some will come to Chicago," Williamson said.

* There is one allowance race on Hawthorne's nine-race Friday card. It's the eighth, and is written for first-level Illinois-bred allowance horses at 1 1/16 miles.