11/01/2006 1:00AM

Dancing Edie takes cue from Intercontinental


The picture remains pretty clear in the mind's eye, Intercontinental out in front and running along at a snail's pace in last year's Filly and Mare Turf, the realization slowly developing that, no, they're not going to catch her, not even the great Ouija Board.

It's a picture that surely has played in the mind of Craig Dollase, the trainer of Dancing Edie, who will try - like Intercontinental did - to steal the Filly and Mare Turf on the lead.

Not that Dancing Edie has the credentials of an Intercontinental. Intercontinental was an established Grade 1 performer with a whoosh of stretch acceleration at her best, and the question going into the Breeders' Cup was whether she could stay the 1o1/4 miles of the race at Belmont. The questions run much deeper when it comes to Dancing Edie. A California-bred, Dancing Edie came into this season with 1 victory in 8 career starts, though she had suddenly blossomed when switched to turf-route racing during the summer of 2005. Now, her win total sits only at 3, though Dancing Edie has a Grade 1 victory under her belt, winning by a nose in a diminished John Mabee Handicap on July 22 at Del Mar. Dancing Edie finished second in her most recent start, the Sept. 30 Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita. She had the lead at the top of the stretch - and was blown away by Wait a While, who figures to be among the Filly and Mare Turf favorites.

"In the Breeders' Cup, anything can happen on that day," said Dollase, who won the BC Sprint here with Reraise in 1998. "She's a Grade 1 winner, she'll probably be on the lead by herself, and in my mind, she probably needed that last race. For $2 million, she deserves a chance to try the big girls."

Dancing Edie should have the lead for at least two of the three turns in the Filly and Mare Turf. Then, she can make like Intercontinental, or prove a more vulnerable loose-on-the-lead horse. - Marcus Hersh

Nightmare Affair, Prado avoid injury

Nightmare Affair gave his connections a few anxious moments on Wednesday morning when he threw his jockey, Edgar Prado, while pulling up following a three-furlong work over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs in preparation for Saturday's BC Sprint.

Nightmare Affair breezed three furlongs in 36.12 seconds in a steady downpour and was nearing the end of his gallop-out when Prado came off approaching the three-eighths pole. Fortunately, Prado landed on his feet and never lost hold of the reins, keeping Nightmare Affair from running off and causing any further problems. Prado quickly remounted and was able to safely guide Nightmare Affair back to his barn.

"He's feeling so good right now he just bucked me off," said Prado, who was aboard Nightmare Affair for the first time on Wednesday and has the mount in the Sprint.

The Calder-based Nightmare Affair, who had to be supplemented into the Sprint at a cost of $180,000, won four straight stakes, including the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap over his home track, before having the streak snapped when he finished a troubled sixth in Saratoga's Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 2. He is trained by Manny Azpurua Jr., who has saddled one previous Breeders' Cup starter, for the Timber Side Stable.

"Thank God, Edgar was able to grab the horse right away," said Azpurua. "He worked faster than I expected this morning but not too fast. The horse is doing good right now and I have a lot of confidence in him. He had everything go against him at Saratoga and I believe he'll improve a lot off that race."

- Mike Welsch