06/27/2005 11:00PM

Dance With Ravens done for year


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - One Queen's Plate mystery has been cleared up but there is little solace in the solution.

Dance With Ravens, the Plate favorite, finished a lackluster seventh, beaten 10 3/4 lengths in the first non-competitive effort of his seven-race career. On Tuesday his trainer, Mark Frostad, announced that Dance With Ravens was through for the season.

"He has a chip in an ankle, and he'll have to have surgery on it," said Frostad. "I knew there was no way he could run that badly unless something had happened. This explains the performance."

Dance With Ravens, a Sam-Son Farm homebred, is a son of champions A.P. Indy and Dance Smartly.

Dance With Ravens still will be the focus of some attention away from the racetrack, however.

Dance With Ravens finished first in the June 5 Plate Trial but was disqualified and placed sixth after the stewards ruled he had interfered with a rival just after the start. Frostad appealed that decision to the Ontario Racing Commission.

Todd Kabel, who rode Dance With Ravens, was handed a three-day suspension that he and Frostad both appealed. The ORC will conduct its hearing into that appeal on July 14.

No date has been set for Frostad's separate appeal regarding the disqualification.

Daddy Cool takes to turf

A couple of solid performances were lost in the Queen's Plate shuffle here Sunday, as Daddy Cool was a game winner of the $113,400 Singspiel and Gamblers Slew registered his first stakes score in the $112,000 Charlie Barley.

Daddy Cool, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Stronach Stable, returned from an 18-month layoff here last summer and was turned over to trainer Sean Smullen.

After first dropping to the $32,000 claiming level, Daddy Cool displayed steady improvement and by season's end had become a stakes winner here in the 1 3/4-mile Valedictory.

Daddy Cool had not run on turf since 2002, but that didn't stop him in the Singspiel. He held on to win the 1 1/2-mile race by a head.

"It was a bit of an experiment," said Smullen. "I needed to move him to where I could get him a bit more ground. This opens up a whole new season for him, for grass racing."

The next turf marathon for older males here is the Grade 3, $300,000 Chinese Cultural Centre, a 1 3/8-mile race on July 24.

Gamblers Slew, a 3-year-old colt, remained perfect in two starts for Jody Hammett and gave the trainer his first stakes victory here in the Charlie Barley.

A Florida-bred owned by Herbert Chambers, who hired Hammett to train his Woodbine string last winter, Gamblers Slew won his turf debut in a first-level allowance at six furlongs here May 29 and came right back at a mile in the Charlie Barley.

Hammett also had entered Gamblers Slew in Sunday's Highlander Handicap, a six-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and upward.

"I would have considered it if Soaring Free wasn't in there," said Hammett. "I wanted to see what was in the race, leave any option open."

With Soaring Free going in the Highlander, Gamblers Slew was sent to the Charlie Barley and led from start to finish while prevailing by two lengths.

"He just wants to run, run, run," said Hammett. "He has tons of speed but with the blinkers off, he's really settled."

Hammett is considering a couple of out-of-town alternatives for Gamblers Slew, who could be making his next appearance at either Saratoga or Monmouth.

'Blues' points to Sweet Briar Too

Hammett will be looking for his second stakes win in Sunday's $100,000 Sweet Briar Too, with Deputy Cures Blues ready to run in the seven-furlong race for fillies and mares.

Deputy Cures Blues recorded her first win in more than two years when she made her first start for Hammett, under fourth-level allowance conditions at six furlongs here May 20.

But, after romping in that race and earning a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 101, Deputy Cures Blues stumbled badly at the start of the six-furlong Ballade and finished fifth as the odds-on choice.

"She banged herself up and grabbed a quarter," said Hammett, who has opted not to work Deputy Cures Blues since the June 8 Ballade.

"When she works she bleeds, then it's no race," said Hammett.

Plans for Lemon Maid uncertain

Lemon Maid now has banked $221,382 from just four career starts after her easy win here in last Saturday's Hill 'n' Dale.

Trained by Malcolm Pierce, Lemon Maid also won the six-furlong Star Shoot here April 24 before finishing second to Gold Strike in the Grade 3 Selene over 1 1/16 miles here May 22.

While Gold Strike went on to win the Woodbine Oaks and finish third in the Queen's Plate, Lemon Maid is a Florida-bred and the 1 1/16-mile Hill 'n' Dale was made to order.

Pierce took the blinkers off Lemon Maid for the Hill 'n' Dale but is not sure whether the equipment change was a factor.

"I don't know if taking the blinkers off helped, or didn't help," said Pierce. "I'm still not convinced she's a true two-turn horse.

"She just did what she had to do in the race; I didn't learn a lot from it."

Pierce is uncertain as to his next move with Lemon Maid but could give her a breather and bring her back in the Duchess, an open seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies here Aug. 13.