Updated on 09/16/2011 7:16AM

Dance Me Free's bow is 'perfect'

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CALGARY, Alberta - Dance Me Free, Alberta's champion juvenile colt of 2001, scored a one-length victory over Sweet Drummer here on Saturday to assume the role of favorite for the May 11 President's Handicap.

Dance Me Free was in tight quarters along the backstretch, and jockey Stephan Heiler found himself with a handful of horse and nowhere to go at the quarter pole. But Heiler squeezed the colt through a small opening entering the final turn and Dance Me Free, the 3-5 favorite, took dead aim on the pacesetting Sweet Drummer.

It took just one right-handed crack of the whip in midstretch to send Dance Me Free past his rival. He ran the six furlongs in 1:14.60 while carrying 118 pounds over a tiring "muddy" surface.

Trainer Sid Gray called Dance Me Free's 2002 debut as "a perfect prep, just what we wanted."

Dance Me Free has won four of seven career starts and earned $110,427 for owners Irene Gray and Kathy and Eric Prosser.

Gray returned to the winners circle later Saturday with Viva Ruckus for the same connections. It was the second straight triumph for Viva Ruckus, runner-up in balloting for Alberta's 2001 claimer of the year.

Viva Ruckus won by seven lengths.

* Wednesday's featured seventh race gives Gray a look at potential rivals for Dance Me Free. The nonwinners-of-two allowance race is headed by Cruisinthebay and newcomer Intact. Cruisinthebay won his maiden impressively on

April 13. Intact comes from Hastings Park, where he won his maiden in the a minor stakes last July.

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