01/20/2005 1:00AM

Chance Dance on dirt again


NEW ORLEANS - Chance Dance poses the kind of problem for trainer Merrill Scherer that all trainers wish they had - he can't figure out if she's better on turf or dirt.

"Every time I run her she messes me up," he said with a laugh. "She wins on the turf, so I think she's a turf horse. Then the race comes off the grass and she wins on the dirt. She's just a nice hard-running filly."

will start on the dirt Saturday in the Truly Bound Handicap, a $60,000 stakes for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles.

From 21 starts, Chance Dance has a 4-2-2 record in 10 turf starts and a 4-3-2 record in 11 dirt starts. A daughter of American Chance, Chance Dance closed out her 4-year-old season with an impressive victory in the off-the-turf Furl Sail last month at Fair Grounds. The win was her fourth at the track in six starts.

"That was a roughly run race," said Scherer. "She only got to run the last eighth of a mile. She's very consistent here, but then again, she's consistent everywhere."

Chance Dance topped the list of weights in the Truly Bound and will carry 121 pounds, including jockey Carlos Marquez Jr.

"Nobody wants to carry the top weight," said Scherer, "but what's the difference between 121 and 119?"

, who won the Pago Hop on turf at Fair Grounds in her last start, is right behind Chance Dance on the scale of weights, at 120. Trained by Neil Howard and ridden by Robby Albarado, Shadow Cast won the Grade 2 Silverbulletday Stakes last year at Fair Grounds.

Storm's Darling won an $80,000 optional claiming race by 11 1/2 lengths two weeks ago at Fair Grounds. A 4-year-old filly by Storm Boot, Storm's Darling has won three in a row for trainer Bobby Barnett and will try to take them all the way on the front end.

Barnett plans to scope Storm's Darling on Friday to make sure that she has recovered from some respiratory congestion she had earlier in the week.

Storm's Darling will have company up front in the speedy Miss Confusion. Miss Confusion is coming off a front-running victory as the favorite in a restricted stakes at Delta Downs.

Family Business finished sixth, beaten less than four lengths, in the Pago Hop after a wide trip. Cashmere Miss, who beat Illinois-breds winning the Illini Princess Handicap last year, completes the field.