04/15/2005 12:00AM

'Summer' eyeing Gold Rush

Kurtis Coady/Coady Photography
Apple Blossom winner Dream of Summer may run at Hollywood next weekend.

Dream of Summer, the California-bred mare who won the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 9, may make a quick return in the $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes on the California Gold Rush program at Hollywood Park next Sunday.

Trainer Juan Garcia said Thursday that Dream of Summer has bounced back from her win in the Apple Blossom in outstanding condition, and he would prefer to start her sooner rather than later.

"I don't think it will bother her, the way she looks right now," he said. "She came back in good shape. She loves Hollywood Park and she has won over seven furlongs. She doesn't need much training."

The presence of Dream of Summer would add national prestige to the Gold Rush program, which features six stakes and four overnight races for California-breds. The B. Thoughtful is run over seven furlongs, and is one of six races worth $150,000 or more.

Dream of Summer will be trying for her fifth stakes win in the B. Thoughtful. Last year, she won the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park, the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar, and the California Cup Matron at Santa Anita.

The Apple Blossom ended a three-race losing streak. In each of those losing starts, Dream of Summer finished second or third.

"It's hard every time you run for everything to be perfect," Garcia said.

By Siberian Summer, Dream of Summer has won 8 of 13 starts and $844,650 for owner-breeder James Weigel.

Garcia said he prefers starting Dream of Summer at Hollywood Park instead of the other option, which would be shipping her to Churchill Downs for a race on Kentucky Derby week.

"I don't like to move [her] too much," he said.

Later during the Hollywood Park meeting, Dream of Summer will be considered for the $200,000 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on June 4.

This year marks the sixth running of the Gold Rush, a springtime counterpart to the California Cup at Santa Anita in the fall.

But unlike the California Cup, which has a race for older horses as its showcase event, the focus of the Gold Rush is the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles.

The Snow Chief is expected to be led by Texcess, the California-bred champion 2-year-old male of 2004, and Thor's Echo, the winner of the WinStar Derby at Sunland Park on April 2.

The $150,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/16 miles on turf is expected to be led by Valentine Dancer, the winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park in January.

A to the Z, the winner of the California Cup Mile last October, is the top probable for the $150,000 Khaled Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on turf. Since the Cal Cup, A to the Z has been third in three consecutive races - the Grade 1 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park, the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita, and the Mervin Muniz, Jr. Handicap at Fair Grounds.

The $150,000 Tiznow Stakes for older males over 7 1/2 furlongs is expected to include Red Warrior, the winner of the Sunshine Millions Sprint in January, and Grand Appointment, the winner of the Sensational Star Handicap at Santa Anita in February. Musique Toujours, the winner of the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park in January, is not ready for a start, trainer John Sadler said.

Cee's Irish, the winner of the Sunland Park Oaks earlier this month, is a leading candidate for the Melair Stakes, run over 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-old fillies.