05/16/2007 12:00AM

Chic Dancer a standout on this turf course


CHICAGO - The Arlington Park racing week for trainer Christine Janks was to start Thursday with a pair of horses in the daily feature, and Friday looks much the same for the Janks barn. Here the race-9 feature is for high-end female allowance horses or $80,000 claimers at about 1 1/16 miles on grass, and Janks has the near-certain favorite in Chic Dancer, a mare in a love affair with the Arlington grass.

Chic Dancer was one of seven entered in the race for turf, with Stormy Amber to start only with a rain-off onto Polytrack. A move to the synthetic surface would not deter Chic Dancer, however, since Janks has been enthused with the way Chic Dancer has trained on it.

"Not that I would take her off the turf deliberately, but I'm interested to try her on the Poly," Janks said this week.

On the Arlington grass, Janks already knows what she has: the winner of the Grade 3 Modesty here last summer. Chic Dancer has made 11 Arlington turf starts and won 7 of them, and last year she went 3 for 3 on the local turf. Well beaten by Gorella in a Keeneland graded stakes to finish off 2006, Chic Dancer has posted plenty of workouts for her 2007 debut, and according to Janks has gotten more out of Polytrack training than she does on regular dirt.

"A lot of times she doesn't breeze well at all, just goes like crazy for three-eighths and then stops," Janks said.

At Hawthorne, said Janks, rider Chris Emigh "tapped her with the whip to try and get her to go and she bit him on the foot. She almost wouldn't work at all. Over here, she's worked strong and galloped out strong all the way. I think she's plenty fit."

Janks also will saddle Ms. Lydonia in the Friday feature, but Chic Dancer's main competition should come from graded-stakes-placed Round Heels and Bridal Path, a winner of two straight turf claimers at Gulfstream Park.

Might Rule gets job done

In Mighty Rule, Janks also would appear to have unearthed the latest in a long line of Illinois-bred stakes horses to come from her barn. Mighty Rule, a 4-year-old gelding, won for the fourth time in six starts on Sunday. Making a successful jump from Illinois-bred to open allowance company, he posted a hard-fought victory over a pair of sprinters with some talent, Shark and He Loves Me Not. Mighty Rule was timed in 1:09.61, the fastest six furlongs so far this meet, and dug in gamely after forcing a fast pace after breaking from the rail.

"He only ever runs as hard as he has to run," said Janks. "He doesn't train like that - he only wants the competition. But once he gets his head in front, he gives it 150 percent."

Janks said she was interested in trying Mighty Rule in longer distances at some point, but there is an Illinois-bred sprint stakes next month that might be on his horizon.

Dreaming of Anna has speedy work

Dreaming of Anna posted a quick breeze Wednesday at Arlington, her first work since she tired to sixth after setting the pace in the Kentucky Oaks. Dreaming of Anna, last year's champion 2-year-old filly, was timed Wednesday in 47.80 seconds for a half-mile Polytrack work, the second-fastest among 29 works at the distance.

"She went super," said trainer Wayne Catalano, who said he is not yet sure when and where Dreaming of Anna will next race.

No worries for Greely

Asked what areas of concern he might have after two weeks of the Arlington meet, the track's racing secretary, Kevin Greely, was succinct: "Zero concerns."

Well, then.

Greely said Arlington's stalls will be filled to capacity by the end of this week, and through Sunday's racing, the average number of starters per race had posted a major increase over the same early-meet period from 2006, going from 7.23 to a whopping 8.9.

Most of the races in Arlington's condition book have filled, and when they haven't, Greely often has been able to split another race into two divisions rather than scramble to fill so-called extra races. Arlington had an official overnight out for Saturday's card not long past noon on Wednesday, a far cry from the entry days last year that dragged into the evening.

"I'm happy," Greely said.