06/09/2005 11:00PM

Harvey's high on 'Deelites'


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bob Harvey readily admits that no racing thrill is likely to top that which he experienced with Numerous Times, winner of the $1 million Atto Mile at Woodbine in 2001.

"Numerous Times will always be number one," said Harvey. "What I went through with him . . ."

Harvey, as a principal in Committee Stable, owner of Numerous Times, watched the horse overcome numerous obstacles en route to his Atto Mile triumph, which was his sixth career start without a defeat. He was trained by Sid Attard.

Although Numerous Times never won again, and was sold to stand at stud in Australia, his absence has made Harvey's heart grow no less fonder.

"I'm thinking about going to visit him, in October," said Harvey.

But in the meantime, Harvey will be looking for another memorable afternoon here Sunday when his homebred Dancehall Deelites, who also is trained by Attard, runs in the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks at 1 1/8 miles.

"We're really looking forward to it," said Harvey, at the draw for post positions here Thursday. "I can't wait."

Dancehall Deelites was one of the more promising performers in her division last year, winning 1 of 7 starts but finishing in the money six times, including thirds in both the Mazarine and Princess Elizabeth over 1 1/16 miles.

"Sid was always high on her; she worked so good," said Harvey, whose week got off to an auspicious start when his homebred 4-year-old Believe in Missy became a stakes winner for Attard here Wednesday evening in the $125,400 Ballade.

"But, she turned out to be a bleeder," Harvey said of Dancehall Deelites. "In the Princess Elizabeth, we discovered she bled."

Dancehall Deelites, who wintered at nearby Windhaven Farm, experienced a similar problem in her 2005 debut, finishing a distant last of seven in the seven-furlong Fury here May 8.

"She bled a 5 on scale of 10," said Harvey. "She might have had some kind of a bug, too. It takes a while, sometimes, to figure these horses out."

Attard obviously got to the heart of Dancehall Deelites's problem in a hurry, as the filly returned May 22 with a front-running 13-length score under jockey Todd Kabel in a first-level allowance.

Dancehall Deelites added fuel to Harvey's fire when she came back last Saturday to breeze six furlongs in 1:12.60 under Larry Attard, a former jockey who now is an assistant to his brother Sid.

Kabel, who won last year's Oaks with Eye of the Sphynx and the 1998 running with Kirby's Song, will be the man in the hot seat Sunday as Dancehall Deelites competes in a field which looks to contain its share of speed.

"She'll be up close," said Harvey. "You've got to relax her on a loose line. If you pull her, she'll start fighting."

Victorious Ami eligible to improve

Victorious Ami has yet to put her best foot forward this year but her trainer, David Bell, believes a wake-up effort in the Oaks is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

"She's coming into the race as good as I can get her," said Bell. "I'm hoping she'll kind of peak at the right time. She seems to be on the improve; she fits there, if she runs her right race."

Owned and bred by Ivan Dalos, Victorious Ami finished second in her first two career outings last year, including the seven-furlong Muskoka, a stakes for local yearling sales graduates.

Then, after running 11th of 12 in a maiden special over one mile on turf, Victorious Ami rebounded to upset the Princess Elizabeth with Dancehall Deelites 2 3/4 lengths back in third.

"It had kind of looked like two turns was going to be more to her liking," said Bell. "She did more than we thought she would as a 2-year-old."

Victorious Ami was put away after the Oct. 23 Princess Elizabeth and spent the off-season on the farm in Ocala, Fla.

But, despite a series of bullet works, Victorious Ami finished fifth as the 6-5 choice when she returned in a first-level allowance at six furlongs and then was beaten 15 1/2 lengths when third as the even-money favorite in the recent romp by Dancehall Deelites.

Bell, believing that Victorious Ami's problems were stemming from a lack of focus, worked her with blinkers for the first time here June 4 and watched her drill in 1:01 under regular rider Emile Ramsammy.

"Actually, she worked pretty nice," said Bell. "She relaxed; they didn't make her speed-crazy. It kind of settled her. Sometimes they'll do that."

Pierce takes two shots in Alywow

Charming Ruckus had been slated to contest the Oaks for trainer Malcolm Pierce, but that plan changed after she was discovered to have a slightly elevated temperature on Tuesday.

"It looks like she's 100 percent now," said Pierce. "But it would be the wrong thing to do to run her in a race like this. It might set her back for two months.

"We'll regroup, and look for something down the road."

Pierce, however, will be looking for a more imminent prize when he sends out both Elle Runaway and Foofaraw in Sunday's $111,000 Alywow, an open 6 1/2-furlong overnight stakes on turf for 3-year-old fillies.

Elle Runaway and Foofaraw, both of whom are Kentucky-breds, ran well at Fair Grounds last winter but disappointed when facing older rivals in their first local start of the year, which came on the turf course.

"They're both decent fillies if they show up on the right day," said Pierce. "I think both of them have a chance."

Foofaraw will be cutting back from 1 1/16 miles, while Elle Runaway's latest was over one mile.

"I'm wondering if Foofaraw has distance limitations; 6 1/2 furlongs won't hurt her at all," said Pierce. "Elle Runaway might want to go farther, but she's sharp right now."