09/26/2007 12:00AM

BC Distaff: Balance seeks turnaround

EmailTrainer David Hofmans hopes the return to a conventional dirt surface is the key to turning around the fortunes of Balance in the distaff division.

Hofmans, based in Southern California, has shipped Balance cross-country for Saturday's Grade 1, $600,000 Beldame at Belmont Park, where she'll meet multiple Grade 1 winner Ginger Punch in a key prep for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27. Indian Vale, Miss Shop, Mo Cuishle, and Unbridled Belle are also expected to run in the 1 1/8-mile Beldame.

The other prep in the division this weekend is the $175,000 Kentucky Cup Distaff, which drew 14 entrants led by dirt stakes winners India, Kettleoneup, and Pleasant Hill.

Balance began the year as top filly or mare in Southern California with victories in the La Canada and Santa Margarita handicaps, run over conventional dirt at Santa Anita. But by the spring, all Southern California tracks had switched to synthetic surfaces and Balance was beaten three times by Nashoba's Key.

While Hofmans wasn't displeased with Balance's two efforts on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track, he didn't feel Balance handled Del Mar's Polytrack when beaten 4 1/2 lengths in the Clement Hirsch Handicap.

"She doesn't stride out on it, she just kind of stays in place, goes up and down," Hofmans said.

Still, if Balance returns to the form she showed early in her career, when she won multiple Grade 1's on conventional dirt, she could become a major player in the Distaff.

In other Distaff developments, Asi Siempre, who finished second but was disqualified to fourth in last year's BC Distaff, returned to the work tab on Wednesday after being compromised by a bruised foot. She worked five furlongs in 1:01 over Keeneland's Polytrack and is on target for the Oct. 7 Spinster and a meeting with Alabama winner Lady Joanne.

Patrick Biancone, the trainer of Asi Siempre, is running Danzon in Saturday's Kentucky Cup Distaff over Polytrack. Danzon has raced exclusively on turf, but Biancone has not discounted trying her in the Distaff pending the results of this weekend.

It appears as though the top three finishers from last weekend's Cotillion Stakes – Bear Now, Octave, and Talkin About Love - are all being pointed to the Distaff.