01/23/2009 12:00AM

A Day for Dancing looms large


SUNLAND PARK, N.M. A Day for Dancing, stakes placed in each of her last three starts, should be a strong favorite in Sunday s $50,000 El Paso Times Handicap at Sunland Park. She will take on seven fellow 3-year-old fillies in the 6 1/2-furlong race.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, A Day for Dancing has spent the early part of the winter at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. A Florida-bred daughter of Dance Master, she finished second in both the Pontalba and Letellier Memorial stakes at Fair Grounds after finishing third in the $100,000 Cassidy Stakes at Calder Race Course in Florida in mid-October. The well-traveled filly s last win was at Prairie Meadows, where she captured the Prairie Meadows Debutante in September.

A Day for Dancing has a seasoning advantage in the El Paso Times, which is one of the reasons she was assigned top weight of 122 pounds. Luis Contreras will ride her.

Lady Hi Teck is the only other stakes winner in the El Paso. She won the Permian Basin Stakes at Zia Park October. Trained by Johnnie Nall, Lady Hi Teck returned to racing at Sunland Park in December and finished an even sixth against male opponents in the $106,000 Riley Allison Futurity. She will carry 120 pounds Sunday, including rider A. J. Martinez.

Cherry One, a developing filly trained by Joel Marr, will be making her stakes debut in the El Paso. A winner of both her starts, Cherry One turned in a professional effort in winning an entry-level allowance here in mid-December. She will carry 118 pounds and be ridden by Carlos Medeira.

Asmussen s other runner in the El Paso is Nice N Icy, who will not be coupled in the wagering with A Day for Dancing because the two have different ownership. Nice N Icy graduated against Oklahoma-breds at Remington Park in December, then defeated allowance foes in open company here on Jan. 11. Ken Tohill rides at 118 pounds.