06/30/2009 11:00PM

Dance Gal Dance finds good spot

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The six-furlong distance of the $65,000 Wandering Cloud Stakes on Thursday at Belmont Park is perfect for Dance Gal Dance.

So is the class drop, from an open stakes into this New York-bred contest.

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It adds up to a favorable spot for the 4-year-old filly, who is looking for the first victory of her comeback.

Dance Gal Dance missed 13 months following knee surgery to remove a chip. She returned June 5 at Belmont in the off-the-turf Glowing Honor Stakes, setting the pace as usual before finishing second to J Z Warrior.

Considering the lengthy layoff, trainer Tim Ritvo was well pleased with the effort.

"She ran well in open company and is now back with statebreds," Ritvo said. "We're kind of excited. She's been training really well since she's been back."

The loss last time out was the first for Dance Gal Dance in five tries at six furlongs.

She won her first four starts, including a pair of statebred stakes, from 5 1/2 to six furlongs. Her only other career loss was the final race before the surgery, a distant second to Northern Netti in the Bouwerie Stakes at seven furlongs at Belmont.

"Northern Netti beat her last year, but that was seven-eighths of a mile," Ritvo said. "She might have chipped the knee in that race. I think our filly is a little better this year. Hopefully, she'll be tough."

Rajiv Maragh, the pilot for her last four races, has the return call.

The only negative for Dance Gal Dance could be the rail. Ritvo believes she is quick enough to seize control from the inside.

"If someone really wanted to send from the outside, I wouldn't be afraid to let her lay second," Ritvo said. "We'll come out of there running."

Like Dance Gal Dance, Northern Netti faces New York-breds for the first time since romping in the Bouwerie by 9 1/4 lengths. Most recently, she finished fourth, beaten only three-quarters of a length as the 7-10 favorite in a fourth-level allowance at Delaware Park.

Light Tactic will be making her seventh straight appearance in a statebred stakes, following a fourth-place finish last month in the Susan B. Anthony Handicap at Finger Lakes.

Completing the field are Beam of Love, Muffy, and Just Zip It.