01/02/2013 2:00PM

Delta Downs: Dancinginthecircle fresh for By the Light Stakes


Fair Grounds Oaks candidate Dancinginthecircle will start her 3-year-old season Friday night at Delta Downs in the $100,000 By the Light. She is shipping in from New Orleans for the seven-furlong race to be run around two turns. Others making up the seven-horse field include Unhedged, winner of the $100,000 Presque Isle Debutante in September, and Portales, who in her most recent start defeated males in the $50,000 Winnipeg Futurity at Assiniboia Downs.

Dancinginthecircle will be looking for her first stakes win, but she has displayed quality on more than one occasion. In her second career start, she was third by a neck in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie on Sept. 8. And in her last race Nov. 24, she was second to eventual Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet winner Pure Fun in a first-level allowance at Churchill Downs.

“She ran very well; she just got beat by a monster,” said Larry Jones, who trains Dancinginthecircle. “But that’s Pure Fun. She went out to California and won the Starlet over Executiveprivilege. We hooked the real deal last time.”

Dancinginthecircle was overtaken by Pure Fun in the one-turn mile allowance after dueling through fractions of 45 seconds for the opening quarter and 1:10 for six furlongs. She was beaten nine lengths, and Jones noted the quick final time of the race, 1:34.80.

Dancinginthecircle “had every reason to throw in the towel after such blistering fractions, and she still held on for second,” Jones said. “She still held on for an easy second. She ran very huge that day, and that’s why we haven’t run back.”

Dancinginthecircle is now freshened and ready to start a campaign that Jones hopes will include a start in the Grade 2, $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 30. In the By the Light, she will be looking for her first two-turn win. Dancinginthecircle has made one start at such a configuration and was 10th in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland on Oct. 5.

“We just drew a line through it,” Jones said of the race, theorizing she might not have handled the Polytrack surface at Keeneland.

“The distance I don’t think will be a problem.”

Dancinginthecircle is by Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap winner Divine Park, while her third dam, Sharon Brown, produced 1994 Horse of the Year Holy Bull. Dancinginthecircle races for Bret Jones.

“I think she has a pretty nice future,” Larry Jones said.

The By the Light is named for the 2007 winner of the Delta Downs Princess.