12/26/2007 12:00AM

Dancin Candy likes the track

EmailALBANY, Calif. - It may be too early to describe a winner on Golden Gate Fields's Tapeta surface as a horse for the course, but Dancin Candy may just be one.

If he is, he figures to be a major player in Friday's feature, a one-mile allowance race.

He has nine rivals, including the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained entry of Warren's Pepe and High in the Air.

Dancin Candy, a 6-year-old, has won $212,538 in 49 races since being claimed for $32,000 from his maiden win on Oct. 23, 2003.

"He's been great for us," said trainer Bill McLean. "He's run on all sorts of tracks, long and short, but he really seems to like this track."

Dancin Candy is entered at his best distance - a mile - at which he has won 4 of 14 starts with 2 seconds and 3 thirds. He likes Golden Gate Fields, where he has 4 wins, 4 seconds and 3 thirds in 18 starts, including a win and a second at a mile on the new Tapeta surface.

He showed little when sprinting in his Tapeta debut on Nov. 9, but then Dancin Candy was dropped in for a $16,000 tag on Nov. 28 and responded by winning. He then ran second after taking the lead in the stretch in a $32,000 claimer at a mile Dec. 9.

McLean notes that the Golden Gate track has been playing to horses like Dancin Candy who come from off the pace.

"Going long, it's hard to go wire to wire, even if you go slow up front, and even though he ran well on the pace when he was younger, he doesn't have as much speed now," he said.

"This track is a lot fairer. In the past, if you were one-two-three-four in the lane, maybe you could change one position, but now, you still have a chance no matter where you are."

There is early speed in the race - including Heated Rebel, I'monmywayhome, and even Warren's Pepe and Big Raise - which should give Dancin Candy an honest chance in the lane. Roberto Gonzalez will ride.

A quick pace could also benefit Dancin Candy's stablemate Novelty Hill, who is moving back to the main track after five consecutive turf starts.

"He's just a 3-year-old, but with the speed in this race, I think he'll come home well," McLean said of Novelty Hill. "Hopefully, they'll come back to him."