After tripping up odds-on choice Smart Surprise by nearly two lengths in winning Woodbine's Whimsical (Can-III) in front-running fashion last month, Dancing Allstar will try to do it again in the Hendrie Stakes (Can-III) on May 10.
Nine older fillies and mares, including five from the April 18 Whimsical, are entered in the 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack test. The race also marks the first start of 2009 for Verdana Bold, who won back-to-back stakes at Woodbine last year.
Trained by Terry Jordan for Bob Cheema, Dancing Allstar was making her seasonal debut in the Whimsical after a 7 1/2-month break. The 4-year-old British Columbia-bred daughter of Millennium Allstar was sharp in the six-furlong Whimsical, clocking a final time of 1:09.16 after posting quick fractions (:23.22, :45.60) for a confident Jim McAleney. Canada's champion 2-year-old filly of 2007 won for the ninth time in 14 lifetime starts.
After winning six consecutive stakes during her 2007-08 campaigns, Dancing Allstar slumped last summer following a distant third-place finish in Calder's Azalea Stakes (gr. III), her only graded stakes start prior to the Whimsical. She was given a lengthy breather after a fifth-place effort in a stakes at Hastings Park Aug. 30.
"She looks like she’s at least three or four inches taller and even wider,” McAleney noted after the Whimsical. “She's got a great constitution and now she's got a body that matches it."
Dancing Allstar will break from the rail in the Hendrie with McAleney aboard while carrying 119 pounds. She'll face not only Smart Surprise again, but three others who ran in the Whimsical -- Proud Heiress (third), Hello Maggie May (fourth) and Arden Belle (sixth).
Though she was unable to overcome a three-length deficit in the homestretch, Smart Surprise put in a game effort in the Whimsical while tiring a bit in the final stages to come up 1 3/4 lengths short. Trained by Josie Carroll for Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, the 5-year-old daughter of Smart Strike won the Chou Crute Handicap at Fair Grounds by more than six lengths on a sloppy track Feb. 14. Patrick Husbands takes over on the chestnut mare.
Proud Heiress, who has been in the money in all three of her starts in 2009, rallied from last on the outside in the Whimsical to finish 2 1/2 lengths behind Dancing Allstar. Julio Felix, who guided the 5-year-old Broken Vow mare to victory in the Wishing Well Stakes at Turfway Park in January, will be reunited with her for trainer Wayne Mogge.
Hello Maggie May stalked the winner in the Whimsical and finished evenly while beaten by five lengths in her first race of the year.
Arden Belle, a stakes winner over Woodbine's Polytrack last year, tired in the Whimsical after pressing the pace on the backstretch.
Verdana Bold, who totes 119 pounds in the Hendrie, has not raced since finishing off the board in the Ontario Colleen on the turf at Woodbine Aug. 30. She won both the six-furlong Star Shoot and the 1 1/16-mile Selene (Can-III) consecutively over Woodbine's Polytrack last spring. Trained by Daniel Vella for owner and co-breeder Edward Seltzer, the 4-year-old Rahy filly has won four of nine lifetime starts.
Authenicat, first or second in her final five starts of 2008 for trainer Carroll, kicked off her campaign with a last-place finish in Keeneland's Madison Stakes (gr. I) at long odds April 9.
Bear Lahaina steps back into stakes company for Reade Baker after a front-running four-length romp over an optional claiming allowance field at Woodbine on April 12.
Saskawea has not raced since finishing a close second to Smart Surprise in last November's Bessarabian.
$150,000 Hendrie Stakes (Can-III, Race 8, 4:35 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 &Up, 6 1/2 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Dancing Allstar (BC), 119, James McAleney
2. Authenicat (ON), 117, Robert C. Landry
3. Proud Heiress (KY), 113, Julio E. Felix
4. Verdana Bold (KY), 119, Tyler Pizarro
5. Bear Lahaina (KY), 113, Eurico R. Da Silva
6. Arden Belle (ON), 117, Emma-Jayne Wilson
7. Saskawea (ON), 115, Jono C. Jones
8. Smart Surprise (KY), 117, Patrick Husbands
9. Hello Maggie May (ON), 115, Richard A. Dos Ramos