08/18/2004 11:00PM

Without Ema, it's a bigger Rancho


DEL MAR, Calif. - What a difference a horse makes. Had Ema Bovary entered Saturday's $150,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar, the field would have numbered about four, and the favorite would have been odds-on. But since Ema Bovary is passing the Grade 3 race, seven of the remaining eight runners nominated to the race entered, and bettors might have to go more than one horse deep to get through the penultimate leg of the pick six.

Trainer Juan Garcia says he is hoping, however, that one is all it will take. He will send out the likely favorite, Dream of Summer, who led from start to finish against a similar field in the A Gleam Handicap last month at Hollywood Park. Dream of Summer may benefit from shortening up from seven furlongs to 6 1/2 furlongs for the Rancho Bernardo.

"She's in good shape, and she's working good," Garcia said Thursday morning at Del Mar. "All her races have been good, except for when she ran on the turf."

, now 5, did not make it to the races until June of her 4-year-old season. But she has tried quickly to make up for lost time. She has won five times in seven starts and is only a head away from being unbeaten on dirt. After losing her second start when surrendering the lead in the final yards, she was outfitted with blinkers. Her lone loss since then was on turf.

This year, Dream of Summer has scored a pair of runaway victories since returning from an eight-month layoff.

"She had a little problem with a hock," Garcia said.

Dream of Summer recuperated at Marianne Millard's Here Tis Farm in Hemet, Calif.

"I foaled her out there," Millard said Thursday morning while visiting Garcia's barn. "She probably felt like, 'I'm home.' "

finished fourth behind Dream of Summer in the A Gleam, but she was stuck on the rail that day. Coconut Girl had won two of her four starts before that, and ran one of the best races of her career when winning against allowance runners here last summer.

was a sharp winner in a money allowance race the first week of the meet. She beat maidens here last summer and is now 2 for 2 at this track.

Icantgoforthat comes off a victory in a turf sprint here July 30 and has had most of her recent success on the turf. But she did win her lone Del Mar main-track race when defeating maidens back in 2001.

All Glory was a group winner in Chile. Her trainer, Marcelo Polanco, said she has trained well for her first start in this country.