08/28/2001 11:00PM

Dance Memories finally getting place to run


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - At the Al Stall barn Wednesday morning, Pam Fitzgerald, Stall's Arlington assistant, bemoaned the fact that the filly Dance Memories was idling in her stall each afternoon.

"She needs to run," Fitzgerald said. "She's doing so well right now. They aren't using her race, though."

Out of the blue, though, they did use her race, and Dance Memories can help propel the Stall stable to yet another big day at this meet on Friday. Dance Memories will be among the favorites in the eighth race, a third-level allowance turf route, while in the race before, a sprint allowance, the Stall-trained filly For Elise should be favored.

Things have continually fallen into place here for Stall's barn, which is part of the reason the stable has won 10 times with only 30 Arlington starters. The Dance Memories situation is a case in point. Originally scheduled for Aug. 25, her allowance race was scrapped by Arlington's racing office that day and on three subsequent programs, but with decent weather forecast, which should allow the race to stay on turf, and a solid field of eight set to start, it will highlight Friday's 10-race program.

A late-blooming 4-year-old Dynaformer filly, Dance Memories has won three of her four races this year, two blowouts at Lone Star and a solid half-length victory over next-out winner Instinct in an Aug. 4 turf allowance here. Friday's race will be her toughest test, since the field includes talented turf fillies like Flinch and Sabathani.

Flinch hails from an equally hot barn, that of trainer Dick Lundy, who has won with eight of 24 starters here. Flinch scratched out of last weekend's Reluctant Guest Handicap when the race was taken off the turf, and earlier in the meet put together consecutive grass allowance wins.

Sabathani is the Illinois-bred filly with an irregular heartbeat that has to be controlled with medication. Her connections suffered heartache here Aug. 8 when Sabathani endured a terrible trip en route to a head loss in a turf race at this same class level. She represents a major win threat Friday for trainer Richie Scherer and owners Carolyn and Joe Friedburg.

For Elise, who faces six fillies in the seventh race, must prove she has the stamina to stay a mile. Winner of two of her four starts, For Elise has never raced beyond six furlongs, but has the pedigree to stretch out in this one-turn race. She should get a favorable trip pressing the only other true speed in the race, Burn Ban, who has drawn inside For Elise.

Top Flight taking shape

Anywhere from five to nine 2-year-old fillies will start Saturday in the $75,000 Top Flight Stakes, the first true stakes race for 2-year-olds in Chicago this summer. The Top Flight is the major local prep for the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie next month, a race that produced Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Caressing last season.

One of the top potential starters in the six-furlong Top Flight, Honest Deceiver, may pass the race and run instead in the Bassinet Stakes, assistant trainer Todd Graves said Wednesday morning. Trainer Elliott Walden "is looking at both races right now," Graves said.

If Honest Deceiver goes to the Bassinet, which is run at River Downs, Desert Sage, a filly stabled at Thistledown with the little-known trainer Anne Mitchell, could be favored in the Top Flight. Desert Sage won the best 2-year-old filly allowance race run this year in Chicago, easily beating standout maiden winner At the Copa in a six-furlong race here July 25. Desert Sage is scheduled to van here early Friday morning.

Also possible for the race are the Emerald Downs stakes winner Strong Credentials, Glenbriar Girl, Don't Ruffle Me, Emeraldforajudge, Ghost Queen, Jeff's Cat, and Vicki Vallencourt.