12/27/2008 1:00AM

Dancin Perfect growing up fast


NEW ORLEANS - When Dancin Perfect came to trainer Mike Burgess, he had high hopes, but she was small horse. So he gave her some time to grow up, and that time paid off with a win in her debut.

When she runs in Monday's $44,000 ninth race at Fair Grounds, she'll be the only filly in the field who is a perfect 1 for 1. But she'll meet seven other 2-year-old fillies, a few with great promise, in the first-level optional claiming race at about a mile on the turf.

Dancin Perfect was given the summer to fill out before beginning her training regimen. When Burgess finally ran her, she won a maiden special weight at a mile on turf by 3 3/4 lengths here on Nov. 21. Donnie Meche kept her well back before turning on the jets, and they won at more than 36-1.

"She caught a lot of people by surprise in her first race, but I wasn't surprised," said Burgess. "She's very intelligent; you show her one time and then she goes and does it."

Dancin Perfect faces Elision, who put it all together in her second race, a maiden special weight on the turf at the Woodbine. She's been off since that victory on Oct. 10, but has been training steadily for her return.

Others who look poised to turn in a good race include Maybe Baby, who was a strong second in the slop at the Fair Grounds on Nov. 29, and Forest Queen, who ran third that day.

Herpes restrictions tightened

The Louisiana State Racing Commission on Saturday tightened the terms of restrictions for horses racing at the Fair Grounds in the wake of a horse testing positive for the equine herpesvirus Friday, trying to mitigate the possibility of other horses being infected. A filly trained by Dallas Stewart was found to have contracted the virus, and on Friday Fair Grounds announced a quarantine of her barn and restrictions on horses shipping in and out of the track.

On Saturday the commission, after consulting with track management and horsemen, ruled that no horses could enter or leave the Fair Grounds. Previously, Delta Downs had allowed horses from the Fair Grounds to ship into the stakes barn there and race the same day, and horses could ship into Fair Grounds as long as they went directly to the receiving barn.

The filly Diamond Song tested positive for the virus on Friday, and her barn, which Stewart shares with trainer Neil Howard, has been quarantined.