06/25/2001 11:00PM

Assault! Dignitas Dancer may go next on dirt


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Dignitas Dancer, who was nipped at the wire at 26-1 in the $300,000 Dallas Turf Cup, could make his next start against statebreds on dirt in the $150,000 Assault Stakes at Lone Star Park on Saturday, said trainer Dallas Keen.

The Assault is one of six stakes worth a cumulative $650,000 on Saturday that will make up the first Stars of Texas Day. Other races scheduled include the $100,000 Allen Bogan Memorial, and both divisions of the $150,000 estimated Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity.

Dignitas Dancer, a gelding, worked four furlongs in a bullet 48.20 seconds Tuesday in preparation for the Assault. Keen said he plans to enter Dignitas Dancer in the race, and see how the field looks before making a final decision on running. "He's really sharp right now," said Keen, who has few concerns about switching Dignitas Dancer back to dirt because he is sharp, and because he has won over the surface in the past. If he starts, the gelding will be ridden by regular rider Ted Gondron.

Dignitas Dancer has finished no worse than second in three starts during this meet at Lone Star. He won an allowance race over multiple stakes winner Candid Glen on April 16, then returned to finish second in the prep for the Dallas Turf Cup, and the Dallas Turf Cup on June 16.

Before his run at Lone Star, Dignitas Dancer raced in a trio of claiming races at Fair Grounds, which made him eligible for what has become his ultimate goal this season, the $125,000 Claiming Crown Emerald over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Canterbury Park on Aug. 4.

Valhol trains for comeback

Keen's top older horse, Valhol, has undergone minor surgery to remove a small portion of his splint bone, and has since resumed training at Lone Star. He has not raced since finishing third in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap on March 4 at Fair Grounds. Before that race he won the track's Diplomat Way Handicap.

"He's doing good; training well," said Keen. Valhol was injured when he hit himself while training one morning at Fair Grounds. Valhol may have one workout at Lone Star before the end of the meet on July 15. He will then be based at Delaware Park, where Keen plans to ship about 25 to 30 horses following Lone Star.

Thursday turf wars

Lone Star will stage four turf races Thursday night, the feature being a five-furlong conditioned allowance worth $29,000. Cashel Palace, who finished second against steeper in his last start, is the one to beat. Among the horses the colt defeated in his last start was Bodacious Bubba, who returned to win the final race of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association All-Star Jockey Championship last Friday.

o Maria "Lupe" Alaniz, a longtime assistant to Dallas Keen, died Monday night in Kingsville of colon cancer. She was 39. Keen promoted Alaniz to his assistant within two months of hiring her, and said she played a key role in helping him win his two trainer titles at Lone Star in 1997 and 1998. He recently named a foal he owns Lupe's Love. Alaniz is survived by her 19-year-old son, Adrian. Services are to be held 2 p.m. Friday at Ramirez-Salinas Funeral Home in Kingsville, Texas.