04/04/2003 1:00AM

Dance in Time: Canada's Ipi Tombe connection


Dance in Time won't be remembered as one of Canada's all-time top racehorses but he's receiving a lot of attention this spring as the broodmare sire of the exciting filly Ipi Tombe.

Ipi Tombe, the Zimbabwean-bred wonderhorse who dusted colts in the Dubai Duty Free and is headed to North America, is a 5-year-old daughter of the unraced Mr. Prospector stallion Manshood and out of Carnet de Danse, a winning English-bred mare by Dance in Time.

A chunky, bull-dog of a colt, Dance in Time was Canada's champion 3-year-old in 1977, after winning the final two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown - the Prince of Wales and Breeders' stakes.

Owned by Viscount Hardinge and trained by Hall of Famer Frank Merrill, Dance in Time had a flair for the dramatic.

A son of Northern Dancer, he didn't race in the Queen's Plate, the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, and was still trying to find his preferred surface and distance when he upset Plate winner Sound Reason in the six-furlong Friar Rock Stakes at 57-1.

He would get even better when he moved out to marathon distances on the grass.

Following a 20-1 victory in the All-Star Jockey Invitational in August, Dance in Time reeled off three consecutive grass wins, including a remarkable effort in the Breeders'.

Heavy rainfall in Toronto had made Woodbine's turf course a bog, and for several days leading up to the Breeders', all grass races were moved to the main track.

The Breeders', 1 1/2 miles on what was then the Marshall course and the inner course, involved crossing the dirt strip, but the main track was dangerously deep in slop that day so the entire race was run on the soggy inner course.

Dance in Time was up to the task and, after stalking Winstone for 10 of the 12 furlongs, he edged away for a 1 1/2-length score. The conditions were so bad that his time of 3:01.60 is the slowest in the history of the Breeders' since the race was made a 1 1/2-mile turf race in 1957.

Dance in Time was bred by Windfields Farm and purchased by Harding for $65,000 at the 1975 Woodbine yearling sale.

The colt was retired at the end of his 3-year-old campaign and sold to Plantation Stud in Newmarket, England, where he stood until 1984.

Carl and Olivia Cannata, of Lakeview Thoroughbreds in Lakeview, Calif., had tried to buy Dance in Time upon his retirement and finally did so in 1985.

"We were looking for a nice, young stallion for our new farm," said Olivia Cannata. "He was a gorgeous horse that just had beautiful babies. And he had so much personality."

Cannata said Dance in Time had more colt foals than fillies at their farm but they still have at least one Dance in Time mare.

Dance in Time died in October 1999.

Cannata, who said there are about a dozen 3-year-old Dance in Time offspring, credits the stallion for the growth of Lakeview.

"We've had several nice horses and we stand other stallions now like Huckster, Miesque's Son, Joyeux Danseur, and Raise Suzuran, who won $2 million in Japan. Dance in Time was a big part of that."