01/24/2002 12:00AM

Now they are 4 and on the upswing

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Dream Run, Bowman's Band, and Windsor Castle were on the verge of stardom last season as 3-year-olds. And after finishing one-two-three respectively in Thursday's allowance feature at Gulfstream Park, they seem poised for bigger and better things at 4.

Dream Run, fourth in the Florida Derby, third in the Illinois Derby, and second in the Illinois Derby at 3, outfinished Bowman's Band to give leading rider Pat Day his third consecutive win on the card. Bowman's Band, a winner of his first three career starts, including the Summing Stakes before tasting defeat in the Pegasus Handicap, turned in a sharp effort making his first start since Oct. 19 and first since being switched to trainer Michael Matz's barn. Windsor Castle was forced to await racing room and angle well out at the head of the stretch in his first start since a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Dwyer on July 8.

"[Dream Run's] a good horse," trainer Paul McGee said by phone from Kentucky. "I'll nominate him for the Deputy Minister Handicap" - on Feb. 10 - "but it might be coming back a bit quick. We'll take a look at what else is available later on and also discuss possibly stretching him out before we leave here."

Trainers Michael Matz and Frank Alexander were happy with the efforts of their horses, Bowman's Band and Windsor Castle, even in defeat.

"He's just coming back. We were using this race to see where we're at with him and as a stepping-stone to other things," Matz said of Bowman's Band. "It's a long year and he'll fit in there some place [with the handicap division]."

Alexander thought Windsor Castle was a bit too keen and close to the pace but performed well making his first start in nearly seven months.

"He might have been a little anxious coming off the layoff and didn't have the smoothest of trips, but I was very pleased," said Alexander. "We'll stretch him out some place. He'll probably need one more race before the Cr?me Fraiche" on March 10.

To run Red's Honors or not?

Trainer Dale Romans wants to run Red's Honor in the Deputy Minister. He's just not sure if he wants to run him if Hook and Ladder is in the lineup.

Red's Honor finished third, beaten six lengths by Hook and Ladder, in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Handicap on Jan. 13. It was his first defeat since finishing fourth in Calder's Carry Back Stakes seven months earlier.

"I'm leaving my options open for the Deputy Minister," Romans said after Red's Honor worked five furlongs in 1:02.80 on Thursday. "I'll see what's going on with the weights and with Hook and Ladder before making a final decision. Right now I'm just trying to see where he fits - at the top of the sprint division or just a notch below."

Romans also plans to nominate and possibly start Dancing Missile in the Deputy Minister. Dancing Missile won Turfway Park's Holiday Cheer Stakes in his 2001 finale and also worked Thursday, breezing five furlongs in 1:02.20.

Velasquez doing well in Florida

Jockey Cornelio Velasquez's decision to forgo the winter in New York to ride full time at Gulfstream for the first time has paid big dividends as he stood fifth in the standings heading into Thursday's program.

Velasquez won three of the first four races on Wednesday, his second hat trick since the meet opened on Jan. 3, giving him 15 wins over the first 18 days of the session.

"Originally I'd planned on going back to New York," said Velasquez. "But I was doing so well at Calder this summer and at the start of the Tropical meet that I decided this was the time to take a chance and come over here."

Velasquez, who will ride Kiss a Native in Saturday's Ft. Lauderdale Handicap and Blissful Kiss in Sunday's Forward Gal Stakes for trainer Bill White, admitted he is off to a better start than even he imagined possible when the meet first opened.

"I knew this was a tough meet and I knew I had a lot of business from Calder but I never thought I would do this well," said Velasquez.

Changeintheweather needs time

Trainer David Bell kept Changeintheweather out of a second-level allowance race for 3-year-olds on Saturday, saying his colt needs more time before he will be ready to run over Gulfstream's demanding surface.

"He's not quite ready to go do that yet," Bell said when asked if Changeintheweather would be running in Saturday's 1 1/16-mile race. "He's training well, but he's going to need to be 100 percent tight to run over that track."

Unlike past years, Gulfstream's main track is deep, and horses are coming out of their first races over the track tired. Bell worked Changeintheweather five furlongs in 1:02.40 on Thursday morning and said he would need two or three more workouts before being ready to run. Changeintheweather, winner of the Grey Stakes at Woodbine last fall, could run in the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 16 or an allowance race that same day.

"It's a little bit of a tiring track," Bell said. "It's not a track you want to run on when you're not 100 percent fit. He seems good. Another couple of weeks he'll be fit. I didn't want him to run and have him get real tired in his first start of the year. It would have been nice to make that race and be right on for the Fountain of Youth."

The 1 1/16-mile allowance race only drew six, including Inaugural Address, who is actually eligible for his entry-level allowance condition but who may still be the one to beat. Inaugural Address overcame a troubled trip to win his maiden by a neck here on Jan. 4. Trainer Nick Zito was probably hoping the entry-level allowance earlier on the card would have split into two divisions.

The intriguing horse in the field is White Flame, who makes his first start for trainer Niall O'Callaghan and Double Down Stable. White Flame, a son of Langfuhr, is coming off a five-length allowance win at Calder when he was trained by Angel Salinas.

French Satin will try Forward Gal

French Satin, who finished third behind A New Twist in the Old Hat Stakes on Jan. 6, will take on A New Twist again in Sunday's $100,000 Forward Gal Stakes. It will be French Satin's first race at seven furlongs; she made the first five starts of her career at six furlongs.

"I was very happy the way she ran in the Old Hat," trainer Steve Standridge said. "She didn't get away good from the gate, but she was the only horse closing the other day. I didn't know she could go seven-eighths, but after that race I think she can."

French Satin finished 4 1/2 lengths behind A New Twist in the Old Hat. A New Twist, trained by John Kimmel, will also be making her first try at seven furlongs.

"Everybody knows that Kimmel's horse ran a lifetime best last time, and if she reacts or bounces maybe we can catch her," Standridge said.

A New Twist earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure winning the Old Hat and figures to be a heavy favorite in the Forward Gal. Others expected to run include Blissful Kiss, Cherokee Girl, Ciudad De Carson, and Take the Cake.

- additional reporting by David Grening