06/05/2008 11:00PM

Blue Pepsi Lodge assigned 124 for Ponche


MIAMI - Blue Pepsi Lodge, the scourge of the local sprint division this season, will pay the price for all that success if he runs in next Saturday's $100,000 Ponche Handicap at Calder.

Racing secretary Mike Anifantis has assigned Blue Pepsi Lodge high weight of 124 pounds for the six-furlong Ponche, two more than stablemate Paradise Dancer. Finallymadeit, a multiple sprint stakes winner here last year and more recently the winner of the 1 1/16-mile Memorial Day Handicap, is next in line at 120, followed by Weigelia and Yesbyjimminy, both assigned 118.

The Ponche is the final local prep for the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap on July 12.

Finallymadeit tuned up for the Ponche by breezing an easy half-mile in 49.60 seconds over a "good" racetrack here on Friday morning.

Victorina is the 122-pound highweight for next Saturday's $100,000 U Can Do It Handicap, although the Northern California-based mare is entered in the Washington State Legislators on Sunday at Emerald Downs and is not expected to ship to Florida. That leaves Cher Ami and Rgirldoesn'tbluff as the potential starting highweights at 118 pounds, followed by Dixie Dreamer at 117 and Bereba at 116.

The U Can Do It is a prep for the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap on July 12.

Dancing Band makes impressive return

Dancing Band, whose resume includes a third-place finish behind Wait a While and Lady of Venice in Saratoga's Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes at 3, made an auspicious return to south Florida when she registered a 1 1/2-length victory over Cozzi Capital in Thursday's featured sixth race.

Dancing Band, a 5-year-old daughter of Dixieland Band, was making her first start since finishing 10th over the Polytrack at Woodbine in the Maple Leaf Stakes last November. Now trained by Marty Wolfson, Dancing Band benefited from a perfectly judged ride by Jermaine Bridgmohan. As a result, Dancing Band got the jump on the 7-5 Cozzi Capital around the turn, drawing off in early stretch before easily holding the favorite at bay through the final furlong.

The win was the fourth in 18 starts for Dancing Band, who last raced here in December 2006, when she finished a troubled seventh in the Grade 3 Frances Genter Stakes.

Unfortunately for Calder, Thursday's outing was likely Dancing Band's last south Florida appearance for a while. The next race on the local stakes schedule on grass for her division is the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat on Oct. 18.

Cozzi Capital, winner of the Calder Oaks here last fall, ran well in defeat. Shuffled back to the rear of the pack leaving the backstretch, Cozzi Capital advanced steadily once in the clear around the second bend, finishing with interest to easily best the others. It was her first start since her seventh-place finish in the 2007 Genter on Dec. 29.

* Almost True, who won two races in a 72-hour span during the final week of May, made it three wins in 13 days when she led throughout to beat $10,000 claiming opposition on Thursday. Almost True was claimed for $10,000 by trainer Pablo Andrade out of a second-place finish at Gulfstream Park on April 10.

* When Honourable Flag won Thursday's seventh race, it gave trainer Randy Zeldman his first victory of the season and first since he last held a trainer's license in 1994. Zeldman, whose first training win came at Hialeah Park in 1986, has won 86 races, including four stakes, during his training career.

* Orinoquia, easy winner of the Harmony Lodge Stakes on May 24, breezed an easy half-mile in 51.40 here Friday. Orinoquia is expected to return in next Saturday's $100,000 Leave Me Alone Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.