12/07/2010 12:49PM

Join in the Dance primed to move forward in allowance

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A horse doesn’t have to win races to earn cash, a fact exemplified by the 4-year-old colt Join in the Dance, a one-time winner with earnings approaching $400,000. Join in the Dance’s propensity for earning checks in rich stakes races has fattened his bankroll – but can he win the co-featured eighth race Thursday at Fair Grounds?

Join in the Dance was one of eight horses entered in an entry-level allowance race carded for one mile and 70 yards on dirt. The race preceding it, a one-mile grass tilt, is open to second-level allowance horses or $25,000 claimers but is restricted to Louisiana-breds.

Join in the Dance has two seconds, a couple fourths, and a fifth in the eight graded stakes races he’s tried, but that form is growing stale. Trained for his first 15 starts by Todd Pletcher, Join in the Dance didn’t race between an 11th-place finish in the Dec. 26 Malibu at Santa Anita and a third-place finish in a second-level allowance race Oct. 16 at Belmont Park, after which he was transferred to trainer Steve Margolis.

In his first start for his new barn, Join in the Dance was up to his old tricks, finishing an even third in a Churchill entry-level sprint allowance. The 5-2 morning-line favorite, Join the Dance might be primed for a move forward making his third start back from a long layoff, and perhaps he really will prefer running long. The other option is still another decent – but losing – effort

But so many of Join in the Dance’s opponents bring major question marks to the race. Walking the Beach was a ballyhooed debut winner in November 2009 at Churchill Downs but never has run back to that performance. Unbridled’s Heart looked like a stakes horse in 2009 but didn’t race for 13 months, flopped in his most recent start, and races for new connections Thursday. Thunder Perfect was third to Fly Down and First Dude last winter at Gulfstream Park but was a flat fifth at Saratoga in his most recent dirt start.

Sky’s the Limit might be worth a look, though. A 4-year-old whose career has been limited by constant layoffs, Sky’s the Limit rallied decently for fourth of 11 in a seven-furlong Churchill sprint Nov. 20, his first start in seven months. He seems primed for improvement and might sit a good trip not far behind a quick, contested early pace.