07/20/2013 2:33PM

Fort Erie: Dance to the Moon looks to end drought in stakes


Dance to the Moon has not visited the winner’s circle since Sept. 22, 2011, when she recorded her third straight victory at Woodbine.

On Tuesday, Dance to the Moon will be looking to end her 14-race drought when she faces seven rivals in Fort Erie’s $75,000 Rainbow Connection, a five-furlong turf race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

“The distance isn’t ideal, but it’s better than seven furlongs,” said Michael Doyle, who trains the 6-year-old Dance to the Moon for owner Scott Abbott. “It’s just an opportunity to try and win a stakes with her.

“Last year she had a dull year, but this year she’s holding her form. She seems to be as good now as she’s ever been.”

Dance to the Moon has raced three times at Woodbine in 2013 and is coming off a fifth-place in the Zadcracarta, a restricted stakes for fillies and mares run over seven furlongs of good turf.

She was second in her first two two starts of the year, including the Ballade, a restricted six-furlong Polytrack stakes for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

Woodbine’s leading rider, Luis Contreras, has the call on Dance to the Moon, who will be making her second appearance in the Rainbow Connection after finishing fourth last year but being moved up to third long after the fact.

Lucky Melissa had crossed the wire first but later was disqualified after registering a positive test for the Class 3 medication acepromazine and an appeal by her trainer and co-owner Carlo Fuoco was denied by the Ontario Racing Commission.

The 6-year-old Lucky Melissa will be looking for vindication Tuesday after opening her campaign at Woodbine with a sixth-place finish in a $25,000 starter allowance over about six furlongs of turf.

Crysta’s Court is the only stakes winner in the Rainbow Connection lineup, having captured Woodbine’s six-furlong Victoriana on the main track last year.

Justin Nixon trains Crysta’s Court, who will be making her seasonal bow and turf debut Tuesday.

Tequilamockingbird, conditioned by Woodbine’s second-leading trainer, Bob Tiller, also will be racing on turf for the first time in the Rainbow Connection.

In her most recent appearance, Tequilamockingbird set the pace and gave way only grudgingly to finish fourth, beaten one length, in a second-level restricted allowance at six furlongs.

Careless Word made her turf debut at Woodbine in her last start and finished a good third for trainer Stu Simon. Laughing Falcon, the winner that day, came back to capture the restricted Passing Mood Stakes at seven furlongs on the turf.

Proud of My Roots, Rue de Jean, and Tahnee round out the field.