04/10/2008 11:00PM

With Dance Gal Dance away, others to play


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - With the connections of the undefeated Dance Gal Dance opting to pass the race, Sunday's $100,000 Park Avenue Stakes at Aqueduct became a wide-open affair.

I Promise, who came within 1 3/4 lengths of Dance Gal Dance in the Love is Eternal Stakes on March 14, may rule a slight choice in the field of nine 3-year-old fillies set to go seven furlongs over the main track. The Park Avenue is restricted to daughters of New York-based stallions.

I Promise, a daughter of Hook and Ladder, had previous success racing on the front end. In the Love is Eternal, she ran a pretty decent race coming from off the pace under Mario Pino. Eibar Coa rides on Sunday.

"I thought it was an improved performance," said trainer Gary Contessa, who compared it to I Promise's fourth-place finish in the Dewars Rocks Stakes. "I thought she rated kindly and was getting to the winner at the end and ran very professionally."

Contessa said I Promise prefers more time between races than the 21 days he gave her prior to the Dewars Rocks. She'll have 30 days between her last start and this.

Contessa also entered Like a Rose, who won a maiden race just eight days ago. Contessa said he would take a look at the field before deciding whether or not to run.

Linda Rice also entered two in the Park Avenue with Canadian Ballet being the stronger half of her coupled entry that includes Crafty N P. Canadian Ballet won the Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes last November before finishing last in the Xtra Heat Stakes against open company on Dec. 6, her last start.

Rice said she'd prefer this race to be six furlongs for Canadian Ballet, and was hoping for more pace than there appears to be in here. Crafty N P is coming off a slow-paced front-running score around two turns.

City by Sea has shown marked improvement in her last three starts for trainer John Terranova. She is coming off a 10 1/4-length allowance score around two turns on Feb. 8.

Terranova explained that City by Sea had previously been a handful at the gate but has become more professional this year. He believes she's probably better going farther than seven furlongs, but said, "I got no problems trying it for $100,000. She's training really good and she's nice and fresh for this."

Cape Cod Escape, Spa Princess, Je T'aime, and Study Abroad complete the field.

Dream Rush not yet ready to race

The multiple Grade 1 winner Dream Rush, who was forced to miss last month's Distaff Handicap due to a hind leg injury, is still not quite ready to run and will not make Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Bed o' Roses Handicap, trainer Rick Violette said.

"I'm a little behind with her," Violette said. "She's doing great again and we're back to galloping, but she hasn't breezed yet. We won't make [the Bed o' Roses]. I'll keep nominating her to everything and one of these days we'll get her over there."

Violette said if this was the end of the year, he could have hurried to make the race. He said Dream Rush would remain in south Florida until the end of April.

Fierce Wind in treatment for lung problems

Meanwhile, Violette said that Fierce Wind, winner of the Sam Davis who was recently turned over to him, came out of the Florida Derby with significant "lung issues," and is being treated at the Kesmarc equine clinic in Versailles, Ky.

"He had some fluid in his lungs and they're cleaning it up," Violette said. "It was petty significant."

McLaughlin stakes runners work

Three horses from the Kiaran McLaughlin stable breezed at Belmont Park on Friday for upcoming stakes engagements in New York.

Cowgirls Don't Cry worked four furlongs in 49.14 seconds over the training track as she prepares for next Saturday's Bed o' Roses. In the Bed o' Roses, Cowgirls Don't Cry will be cutting back to seven furlongs after being eased in the stretch of the Next Move Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.

"The experiment didn't work going around two turns, so we're going to go back to one turn," assistant trainer Art Magnuson said. "She's already won a stakes going seven furlongs. She was unlucky at the gate last time; she's stood there twice since then and seems to be fine."

Carolyn's Cat, who is coming off a victory in the Grade 3 Cicada Stakes, worked an easy half-mile in 51.93 seconds. She is pointing to the Grade 3, $200,000 Nassau County Stakes at Belmont on May 3.

Divine Park, who made a successful two-turn debut winning an allowance race last time out, is being pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Westchester Handicap on opening day at Belmont Park, April 30. He worked four furlongs in 49.65 seconds on Friday.

"He couldn't be doing any better - he came out of the race great," Magnuson said. "I almost wish the Westchester was two turns. But he won going one-turn before."

Divine Park won last year's Withers Stakes, which, like the Westchester, is a one-turn mile.

NYRA seeks Belmont Stakes workers

The New York Racing Association will host the first of several open houses on Monday and Tuesday at Aqueduct to recruit potential employees to work on Belmont Stakes Day, June 7. The open house will be held from 4-7 p.m. on the first floor of Aqueduct's clubhouse.

Available positions include parking attendants, ushers, mutuel clerks, admission cashiers, and cleaners.

Additional open houses will be held at Aqueduct on April 28-29 (4 to 7 p.m.) as well as at Belmont Park on May 5-6 and 12-13 from 4-7 p.m. in the winner's circle.