05/28/2010 11:00PM

Danzon still strong at age 7


Danzon was 25-1 when she rallied from next-to-last in a field of 12 fillies and mares to upset last fall's Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs. Happiness Is, the 5-2 favorite that day, finished a distant eighth.

The roles of favorite and longshot could well be reversed when the two aging turf mares meet again in Monday night's Decoration Day Handicap, one of three $75,000 stakes on the holiday card at Mountaineer Racetrack.

The Decoration Day, which goes as race 2 on a card that begins at 7 p.m. Eastern, and the Memorial Day Handicap (race 3) are both scheduled for one mile on turf. Six female sprinters will contest the six-furlong Ohio Valley Handicap in race 9.

Danzon was good enough to win the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Distaff on Turfway Park's Polytrack in 2007, the same year that she finished third, beaten just one length, facing males in the Grade 2 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard. A deep closer, Danzon is still effective at age 7. She has hit the board in all five starts this year, including a win last time out in a third-level optional $80,000 claimer on turf at Churchill Downs and a miss by a neck in the Fairway Fun at Turfway Park in March.

In contrast, the 6-year-old Happiness Is has yet to display the same form that enabled her to finish first or second in 4 of 6 starts in 2009, including the only stakes victory of her 25-race career in the $100,000 Lady Canterbury. She has been far back in two stakes appearances this year.

The field includes Fareena, runner-up in this stakes two years ago, and Kitty Cat Express, winner of last summer's $77,000 Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware.

* Timeless Fashion, equally adept on turf and synthetic surfaces, returns to Mountaineer for the Memorial Day for the first time since winning last year's Memorial Day at 6-1. A 6-year-old gelding, Timeless Fashion is a combined 8 for 15 on turf and synthetic, winning 3 of his last 4 starts dating back to November. The prime contenders appear to be Vanquisher, third in the Grade 3 Colonel Bradley at Fair Grounds in January; the speedy Crimson Comic, who just missed in last month's one-mile Henry Clark at Pimlico; and For All Who Conga, a solid second in his turf debut at Tampa Bay Downs in April.

* Sweet Goodbye, winner of the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park in February, looks formidable despite conceding between 10 and 19 pounds to her five rivals in the Ohio Valley. Her top rival appears to be News Brief, who was third in a dirt sprint stakes at Indiana Downs two starts ago and owns a 2 for 2 record at Mountaineer.