05/07/2009 11:00PM

Dandy Dora looking sharp after surgery


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Greg Tracy is hoping for a strong race from Dandy Dora in the $50,000 Emerald Downs Stakes at Hastings on Sunday.

Dandy Dora will be making her first start since she finished fourth in the $75,000 Permian Basin at Zia Park in New Mexico last October. According to Tracy she came out of the race with a small chip on her ankle and underwent surgery to take the chip out.

"She probably chipped it going into the turn," Tracy said. "She broke poorly from the rail and then they all came down on her. The rider was standing up on her going into the turn, trying to find somewhere for her to go. It was just a flake, and she seems to be doing fine right now."

Dandy Dora went into the race at Zia undefeated. She led every step of the way in all three of her starts at Northlands Park, including two stakes races. Dandy Dora cruised to a 9 1/4-length win in the Bird of Pay. Her margin in the one-mile Freedom of City was significantly less, just under two lengths, but Tracy thinks it would have been more if another horse would have tried to push her. He also thinks she can rate, which could come in handy with the speedy What R the Odds in the field Sunday.

"She just had too much class for the horses in Alberta, and once she made the lead in her races she just scooted around there," Tracy said. "I think she got a little bored when she won going long. It's hard to keep a 2-year-old interested for that long when they are out there all by themselves. I have worked her with Robo Willie quite a few times, one behind the other, and she settled nicely."

Robo Willie was a triple stakes winner as a 2-year-old last year. Tracy entered him in Saturday's $50,000 Jim Coleman Province.

Dandy Dora is a full sister to a couple of multiple stakes winners at Emerald Downs, Sundance Circle and No Constraints. Tracy likes the way she has grown over the winter and is looking forward to seeing her develop as a 3-year-old.

"She must have grown over a foot," he said. "She has trained beautifully here. We went pretty easy with her for her first couple of works, but she's picked it up lately, and I was impressed with her work the other day. It looked she went around 1:02, so I was a bit surprised when the clockers told me it was in 59 and change."

Tracy was referring to Dandy Dora's five-furlong move in 59.80 seconds on May 2 with Pedro Alvarado aboard. Alvarado doesn't usually let horses work that fast.

"She worked me," Alvarado said.

Dandy Dora appears to be coming up to the race in perfect condition. The only question Tracy has is how well she fits with stakes horses at Hastings.

"She was much the best in Alberta, but there are some pretty nice fillies here," he said. "If she runs her race, she should give them a good run for their money."

Alberta runners add to meet's quality

The influx of horses from Alberta has made big difference in the quality of racing at Hastings this year. Three horses running in the Emerald Downs are based in Alberta. It is safe to say that Dandy Dora, Bodgits Lady, and Hardcore Candy wouldn't be here if there was racing at Stampede Park this spring. Because the proposed track at Balzac is behind schedule, there is no racing in southern Alberta this year.

Stampede traditionally started its meet before Hastings, and trainers from Hastings usually shipped their horses to Calgary to run in early stakes races. The four-furlong races at Stampede in the spring also were attractive spots for horses with good speed that had a hard time negotiating the two-turn sprints at Hastings.

With Northlands Park starting later, and because all but one of the races run over the first two weekends there were at 3 1/2 furlongs, a lot of Alberta-based trainers have shipped their horses here.

Horsemen from Alberta also are concerned that the proposed track in Balzac will never be built. The United Horsemen of Alberta, which is the prospective operator at Balzac, has scheduled a meeting at Northlands Park in the Sky Paddock on May 21 to update horsemen on the progress of the development. Max Gibb, chief executive officer of horsemen's group, will make the presentation. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. Gibb will take questions following a presentation.

"I am still hopeful that if everything falls into place we can be up and running in 2010," Gibb said. "What has changed is that we will be phasing in the project instead of trying to build the whole thing at once. We're also going to cut back the size of the grandstand. The main floor, where the racing and entertainment center is located, will remain intact."

Gibb added that he still needs to convince shareholders and regulators of the new plan's merits.