11/15/2003 1:00AM

'Dance' needs clean beginning


PORTLAND, Ore. - Hope You Dance will look to make amends when she takes on six other older fillies and mares in Monday's Portland Meadows feature, a six-furlong sprint for $5,000 claimers.

Hope You Dance, a 4-year-old daughter of Peterhof who races for Ray Boucher, was 5-2 against allowance foes here Nov. 8, but lost all chance when she broke far behind the field and finished eighth. In her previous start on Oct. 27, Hope You Dance went six furlongs in 1:13 to beat $6,250 rivals by nearly seven lengths. Hope You Dance normally does not break poorly and should prove difficult to beat under her new jockey, Bob Webb.

Hope You Dance is not the only entrant who owes her backers money. Ionix ran sixth as the 8-5 favorite under Monday's conditions on Nov. 3. Ionix, a winner of 8 of her 36 career starts, was claimed that day by trainer Nick Lowe and owner Aaron Spillman. Although she had no apparent excuse in her last outing, Ionix may have bounced after a big effort off the bench Oct. 18, when she just missed in a 5 1/2-furlong race for $5,000 claimers. A repeat of that try would put her in the thick of contention.

Also dangerous are Joy's Toy, who won four races here last season, and P. A.'s Candy, who won three. Both will be racing for the first time since last spring but will be formidable if ready for a top try. While P.A.'s Candy has not tipped her hand in the mornings, Joy's Toy has posted three bullet drills from her last four workouts.