She's had just two starts in 18 months and hasn't raced at all in 2003, but jockey David Clark thinks the 6-year-old mare Diadella can still be a factor in Saturday's $171,750 Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine.
"She has one great kick and hopefully, you can time it right," said the 30-year riding veteran, who topped the $50-million mark in lifetime earnings in 2002. "She's a great filly and she can really run."
The bay daughter of Diesis is taking on a tough field of 10 opponents in the Dance Smartly, which includes top turf talents such as fellow Stronach Stables' color-bearer Hot Talent and last year's Atto Mile runner-up, Chopinina.
Clark, just five wins shy of 2,400 for his career, has won six of 12 starts since teaming with Diadella in August 2000.
A win in the Dance Smartly would also provide rider and horse with a chance for redemption. The duo finished ninth in the 2001 edition of the race, 3 ¼-lengths back of the winner, Alexis.
But if past history is any indication of how they'll fare come this weekend, the pair won back-to-back races after the disappointing effort in 2001.
Yet another reason to be optimistic can be traced to July 21, 2002, Diadella's first race since winning the River Memories on November 4, 2001. In typical fashion, the Kentucky-bred employed a strong final kick to defeat Byzantine, who she'll face once again on Saturday, by two lengths, showing no signs of racing rust coming off the shelf.
"She (Diadella) used to be a bit speedier when she was younger, but she's matured and developed into a very nice racehorse," Clark said.
Chopinina, who finished a strong second in her 2003 debut, will be seeking her third win in six starts with a win in the Dance Smartly.$171,750 Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-III), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile on turf
PP / Horse / Trainer / Jockey
1 / Chopinina / Alec Fehr / Emile Ramsammy
2 / Ginger Gold / Sid Attard / Jim McAleney
3 / Hot Talent / Malcolm Pierce / Todd Kabel
4 / Diadella / Malcolm Pierce / David Clark
5 / Ghazirella / Robert Crean / Simon Husbands
6 / Byzantine / Bruce Pollock / Jono Jones
7 / Five Fishes / Josie Carroll / Chantal Sutherland
8 / Strait From Texas / Paul Buttigieg / Richard Dos Ramos
9 / Madeira Mist / Christophe Clement / Patrick Husbands
10 / First Quarter / James Day / Na Somsanith
11 / Cyclorama / Harold James Bond / Robert Landry