11/25/2010 12:10PM

Dubai Dancer tries the deep end in Gazelle Stakes

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Deja Puglisi/EQUI-PHOTOS
Dubai Dancer, winner of last month’s Witches Brew at Monmouth, jumps in class for the Grade 1 Gazelle.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Though Dubai Dancer had just finished seventh in her debut over Aqueduct’s inner track last January – racing somewhat erratically throughout – jockey Richard Migliore told trainer Kiaran McLaughlin he thought the filly was capable of winning a graded stakes race.

Seven months later, after guiding her to a seven-length maiden win at Saratoga, jockey Ramon Dominguez told McLaughlin that Migliore might have been selling the filly a little short.

“I hate to tell you this, but I think Migliore lied to you,” McLaughlin recalled Dominguez telling him. “She’s a Grade 1 filly.”

On Saturday, McLaughlin will find out if his riders were correct when Dubai Dancer makes her graded stakes debut in the Grade 1, $250,000 Gazelle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct. Dubai Dancer will take on seven rivals in the Gazelle, run at 1 1/8 miles, including graded winners No Such Word, Seeking the Title, Quiet Temper, and Awesome Maria.

Dubai Dancer, a daughter of A.P. Indy and a full sister to the Grade 1 winner Little Belle, kept drifting out in her debut, and the fact she was only beaten five lengths may have been why Migliore was so excited. Following the race, Dubai Dancer was discovered to have had a chip in a hind ankle, which was surgically removed. Since returning, Dubai Dancer has gone 3 for 3, winning her maiden at Saratoga, an allowance at Belmont, and the Witches Brew Stakes at Monmouth, her first start around two turns.

“She’s come back very well; with that pedigree we feel like she wants to run as far as they write the races,” McLaughlin said. “So we feel good about the fact it’s a mile and an eighth.”

Dubai Dancer figures to lay close to what may be an ordinary pace in a Gazelle lacking a confirmed front-runner.

No Such Word seeks her fifth stakes win of the year and comes off victories in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks and the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks in her last two starts. She will be the last starter for trainer Cindy Jones, whose husband Larry will return to head training duties beginning in 2011. No Such Word has two bullet works since the Remington race.

“You couldn’t want her to go into a race any better,” Cindy Jones said.

Stretching out from sprints to a route for the first time, Belle of the Hall could find herself as part of the pace. She has won 4 of 6 starts for trainer Tom Albertrani.

Awesome Maria, who won the Grade 2 Matron as a 2-year-old, returns to the dirt after a fourth-place finish in an overnight turf stakes. Two starts back, she finished 10 lengths behind Havre de Grace and Blind Luck, two of the this division’s best, in the $750,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion at 1 1/16 miles at Parx Racing.

Joanie’s Catch, a restricted stakes winner at Calder; and Delaware shipper Ms Vanenzza complete the field.