04/07/2004 11:00PM

'Dance' steps up in class

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CALGARY, Alberta - Dance Me Free, Alberta's champion juvenile colt in 2001, tries for his second victory of the season in Saturday's optional claimer at Stampede that attracted a solid field of 10 older horses.

A 5-year-old, Dance Me Free posted a head victory over favored Boldanzar in his seasonal debut April 3 while finishing in 44 seconds, just a fifth off the four-furlong track record held jointly by Hafta Nafta and Adventuresome Love.

Trainer Gerry Kipling wheels Dance Me Free back in a half-mile race and moves him up one notch versus $28,000 company. Desmond Bryan retains the mount.

The extreme outside post in the full field may compromise Dance Me Free's chances, but in his April 3 victory, Dance Me Free came from post 8 to run down a game Boldanzar with a determined bid down the lane.

Ka Blui, who breaks just to Dance Me Free's inside under Rickey Walcott, made only four starts last year after missing most of the season due to injury. But he did make the lead in the restricted Red Diamond Express Handicap last September and has trained forwardly for Ernie Keller this spring.

Another runner with back class is King Jeremy, a 7-year-old gelding who is 10 for 35 lifetime, with earnings of $320,590. King Jeremy probably prefers more distance, but has enough early foot to gain a close stalking position in this group.

A longshot possibility in this $21,300 race is Faiths Hope, who invades from the minor circuit. A 5-year-old, Faiths Hope is 2 for 2 at this course, including a win at this distance. Faiths Hope won seven races last year at various venues and rates a look breaking from post 7 under Real Simard.