01/24/2002 12:00AM

St. Julien has inside track to ride Hallowed Dreams

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Although Lloyd Romero has yet to name the rider who will replace Sylvester Carmouche aboard Hallowed Dreams in her next start, Marlon St. Julien appears to be one of the leading contenders.

St. Julien worked Hallowed Dreams last Saturday at Evangeline Downs, when she breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:00. "I'll make the final decision on a rider when I enter," said Romero, who co-owns and trains Hallowed Dreams, a winner of 25 of 28 career starts and $714,143.

St. Julien, who is riding his first meet at Oaklawn Park, would seem to have the inside track. His agent is Randy Romero, who is Lloyd Romero's son. Lloyd Romero said Randy nominated Hallowed Dreams for him to the $50,000 Spring Fever, which is to be run at Oaklawn on March 10.

Romero will consider the race, but said right now, his plans are to run Hallowed Dreams in the $75,000 Pan Zareta on Feb. 9, and the $125,000 Victoria Lass Handicap on March 16. Both races are at Fair Grounds, which is closer to home for Hallowed Dreams, who is based at Evangeline Downs in Lafayette, La.

Hallowed Dreams has not raced since she finished ninth in the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint on Dec. 8. Before that race, she won the A.B. Leggio Memorial at Fair Grounds.

Crafty Shaw points for Essex

Crafty Shaw, who won his third race in a row last Sunday in the $75,000 Diplomat Way at Fair Grounds, is to make his next start in Oaklawn Park's $75,000 Essex Handicap on Feb. 23, trainer Pete Vestal said. The long-term goal for the colt, who won last year's Grade 3 Rebel, is the Grade 1, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 6.

"We came in here with the idea of the series they have for older horses," said Vestal. "We thought last year he was that type of horse, but he didn't get to prove it because he got hurt.

"This year he's healthy, and he's bigger and stronger than he was last year, so that's our goal for this winter."

Crafty Shaw never had the chance to reach his full potential at 3. After finishing seventh in the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby last April, his connections discovered a stress fracture to his right hind leg. The injury did not require surgery, just a seven-month rest from racing. "He's healed completely," said Vestal.

Crafty Shaw has won 6 of 11 starts and $195,840.

Truly Sunlit cuts back at Houston

Truly Sunlit, who finished third as the favorite in a one-mile allowance last out, cuts back to six furlongs Saturday night in the $30,000 Bayou City Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston.

The last time Truly Sunlit raced around one turn she finished second, beaten five lengths by champion Texas-bred 2-year-old Miss Ritz, in the $65,000 Friendship Stakes at Louisiana Downs. In her final prep for the Bayou City, which is for 3-year-old fillies, she worked a bullet four furlongs in 48.80 seconds. Trainer Bret Thomas has given the mount to Sidney Lejeune Jr.

The chief threats to Truly Sunlit are Atsa Pretty Muffin, a daughter of Maria's Mon who invades from Laurel in Maryland on the heels of a conditioned allowance win Dec. 2, and Sly Kona, who in her last start won the $50,000 Bara Lass for statebreds at Sam Houston on Dec. 1 for leading trainer Steve Asmussen.

Sly Kona is to be ridden by leading jockey Glen Murphy.

Highland Ice sold for $1

Gerald Dixon has sold Highland Ice, the outstanding Oklahoma-bred sprinter who retired last August after winning 16 of 48 starts and $473,390, for $1. Walter Merrick purchased the 9-year-old gelding, whom he bred, and has turned him out at his ranch in Oklahoma.

"It's the best thing that ever happened," said Chuck Turco, who trained Highland Ice. "It's a real good place for him. He was born and raised there."

Highland Ice, who won multiple stakes at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, finished second behind Valid Expectations in the 1996 running of the Mountain Valley, which will be renewed Saturday at Oaklawn.

* Smolderin Heart, who won the $300,000 Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park and the $50,000 King Cotton at Oaklawn, has been retired and will stand at Gray Rock Farm outside of Hot Springs, said trainer Terry Brennan. A winner of eight races and $467,686, he will stand as the property of a syndicate. His stud fee is $2,000.