12/23/2004 12:00AM

Chance Dance wins off-the-turf Furl Sail

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Lenny Vangilder
Chance Dance, Carlos Marquez Jr. up, wins the $60,000 Furl Sail Handicap for fillies and mares Thursday at Fair Grounds.

NEW ORLEANS - Chance Dance won the at Fair Grounds Thursday with a last-to-first rally under jockey Carlos Marquez Jr.

The race for 3-year-old and up fillies and mares at 1 1/16th miles was originally carded for turf but was switched to dirt, leaving a field of seven.

Chance Dance broke eagerly along the inside in post two as jockey Gerard Melancon made an aggressive move to the lead aboard Kitty's Legend into the clubhouse turn. Brian Hernandez Jr. sent Fun House after Kitty's Legend, with Chance Dance along the rail in third inside of Keeping the Gold and jockey Eddie Martin Jr., and Robby Albarado moving Flager wide into contention. Chance Dance checked going down the backstretch, falling back to last, where Marquez allowed her to settle while saving ground.

Kitty's Legend and Fun House continued on the lead through a quarter mile in 25.44 and a half in 50.80. Fun House surged to the lead on the far turn with Flager to her outside and Kitty's Legend just behind through six furlongs in 1:15.92. Chance Dance continued to save ground as Marquez sat chilly in last place until nearly the head of the stretch, when he made the inside out move and swept wide for the drive.

Fun House kicked clear of her pursuers down the stretch, getting the mile in 1:40.83, but Chance Dance wore her down with a well-timed move by Marquez to win by a half length in 1:47.29. It was another six lengths back to Kitty?s Legend, who edged out Keeping the Gold for third. May Gator, Beautiful Bets and Flager completed the order of finish.

Chance Dance returned $11.40, $5.20 and $4.20.