07/14/2006 12:00AM

Nicole's Dream too hot to sit


The trainer Larry Rivelli isn't concerned about bringing Nicole's Dream back only 12 days after she beat males in the Smile Stakes here at Arlington, and with good reason feels Nicole's Dream is far and away the best turf sprinter in Sunday's J J's dream, a $45,000 overnight stakes that's just the female counterpart to the Smile. So confident are Nicole's Dream's connections of her ability to bounce back from races that they are returning on short rest Sunday at Arlington just three weeks prior to Nicole's Dream's major goal of the summer, a $250,000 turf-sprint stakes at Calder Race Course.

"Look at her record; she's like a warrior," said Rivelli, who trains Nicole's Dream for a Dare to Dream Stable partnership. "She's just kind of an amazing horse."

Amazing she is. has won 22 of 47 starts, banking almost $630,000 in purse money, and in grass races, she has gone 18-33, finishing second or better 24 times. Her record on the Arlington turf is 9 for 11, and after a failed trip to Hong Kong last winter, and an eighth-place finish in her 2006 debut, Nicole's Dream is back to her old self at age 6. Her smooth two-length win in the Smile appeared to be her best performance since she won last year's J J's dream by more than five lengths and set a course record for about five furlongs.

Rivelli said the J J's dream looked "easier than the race she won the other day," which may be true. But there is enough early pace in the 10-horse field to keep Nicole's Dream from waltzing on the lead, though she did rate kindly behind a horse hustled to the front in the Smile.

There is also a filly named Pretty Jenny, who makes only her second start on turf, a surface trainer Christine Janks has been waiting to get her on since early spring.

has won 5 of 8 races on dirt, but Janks locked in on an impressive turf-sprint allowance victory on this course last summer as a measure of what Pretty Jenny really wants to do. The big thing for her filly, Janks said a few weeks ago, is avoiding the kickback that blasts into trailing horses in dirt races. Pretty Jenny hates it, and it keeps her from finding her best stride until she makes her way outside and into the clear for her stretch run. In the J J's dream Pretty Jenny has an outside draw, and figures to get a clean trip waiting behind the speed. Then, she will try to run down one of the most reliable turf sprinters in the country.