10/21/2010 11:06AM

Love That Dance sharp for Sweet and Sassy

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Love That Dance romps in the Eleven North at Monmouth in September.

Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. must hope that history doesn’t repeat itself Saturday at Delaware Park when he saddles obvious favorite Love That Dance in the $125,000 Sweet and Sassy Stakes for filly and mare sprinters.

Perkins, a high-percentage trainer at Monmouth Park, is just 1 for 10 shipping into Delaware the past five years, including a noteable disappointment with Wild Gams in the 2007 Sweet and Sassy. Much like Love That Dance does on Saturday, Wild Gams looked formidable on paper coming into her Delaware race three years ago, with a Grade 3 stakes victory and neck loss in the Grade 1 Prioress on her r é sum é . Sent off as the even-money favorite in the Sweet and Sassy, Wild Gams could do no better than seventh.

Of course, it should be noted that Wild Gams came to Delaware off a 189-day layoff. Love That Dance raced three weeks ago and was beaten a mere half-length as the odds-on favorite in the Maryland Million Distaff. The loss ended her bid to put together a three-race winning streak that began with daylight victories in the Trenton and the Eleven North, both at Monmouth.

Love That Dance is 7 for 22 in her career, including 5 for 10 in sprints at 5 1/2 to six furlongs, the same distance she will be running on Saturday.

Her chief rivals in a field of six look like locally based Mindy Sue and another Monmouth shipper, Jehan.

Mindy Sue, trained by Mac Robertson, defeated three rivals in the Dashing Beauty overnight stakes on Aug. 4, then finished third in last month’s Grade 3 Endine. Robertson is extremely dangerous with fresh horses in stakes, having won with 12 of his last 20 starters (60 percent) in that category.

Jehan, a 4-year-old who has spent most of her 20-race career in Southern California, will be making her first start since moving into Todd Pletcher’s barn. Although she was badly beaten by Love That Dance in the Trenton, that race took place on a muddy track that Jehan may not have liked. Her previous start on dirt, in a third-level optional $6,500 claimer, she won by a neck with an 89 Beyer Speed Figure that compares favaorably to Love That Dance’s last-race Beyer of 86.

The 3-year-old Veuve could be dangerous on the returning to her home track. The last time she sprinted at Delaware, Veuve won by more than seven lengths.