02/02/2012 1:42PM

Laurel: Dance to Bristol has edge in Marshua


Among the trio of 3-year-old fillies in Saturday’s $75,000 Marshua Stakes at Laurel Park with a stakes win to their credit, Dance to Bristol, based at Charles Town with trainer Ollie Figgins III, seems to hold a distinct advantage over Defy Gravity and Dancing Anna.

Dance to Bristol, winner of an overnight stakes in New York two starts ago, comes into the six-furlong Marshua with a string of Beyer Speed Figures (77-86-74) that are all better than the any of the last two numbers posted by either Defy Gravity, who beat Dance to Bristol by a half-length back in November, or Dancing Anna, winner of the 4 1/2-furlong Miss Shenandoah 4 1/2 months ago.

In fact, even though Dance to Bristol’s most recent performance as a distant fourth in the Ruthless at Aqueduct was the first time she failed to finish at least second in six career outings, the 77 Beyer Figure she earned still was superior to figures any of her seven Marshua rivals has ever earned.

In contrast, Defy Gravity seems headed in the wrong direction. Since narrowly defeating Dance to Bristol in the Smart Halo on Nov. 19 with a 75 Beyer, Defy Gravity has regressed in each of her last two starts, dropping to a figure of 66 while beaten 7 3/4 lengths by Dance to Bristol and plummeting to a 40 while last, beaten 11 1/4 lengths, by Dancing Anna on Jan. 16.

Dancing Anna matched her career high with a 69 Beyer while returning from a break of almost two months. She is eligible to move forward making the second start of her form cycle for a trainer, John Robb, who is 3 for his last 10 with fillies and mares seeking back-to-back sprint wins following a layoff.

Among the others, Pennies Appeal and Lady June Bug both step up to stakes company for the first time following back-to-back wins.

Pennies Appeal, claimed for $25,000 by trainer Howie Wolfendale two starts ago, rallied to get up by a nose going 5 1/2 furlongs in her first start for her new connections on Jan. 25. Wolfendale is 5 for 18 (28 percent) second-time off the claim with horses seeking two straight victories.

Lady June Bug, part of a Dane Kobiskie-trained coupled entry with Doe, scored daylight wins over $10,000 maiden claimers and $20,000 claimers. Despite the rise in price, she improved her Beyer from a 46 to a 60.