06/25/2004 11:00PM

Mary Murphy ready for biggest test


MIAMI - Mary Murphy may have the best chance of any local horse being pointed to the Smile or Princess Rooney, the two richest races on the July 10 Summit of Speed card. She will enter the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap off a pair of impressive overnight handicap victories and couldn't be doing better heading into the biggest race of her career.

Mary Murphy breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 over a very cuppy racetrack here Saturday morning under jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr., working an eighth of a mile farther than trainer Joe Waunsch had originally intended.

"She's feeling so good right now, she kind of got away from Rosie a little earlier than planned," said Waunsch. "But that's fine. She's just so sharp right now I wish the race was next Saturday and not still two weeks away."

Mary Murphy has always shown a world of talent, but has had her career slowed on a couple of occasions by nagging problems. But Waunsch said Mary Murphy is now 100 percent.

"She's always had a bunch of little things bugging her," said Waunsch. "She had a problem with her backbone and has always had trouble growing feet. But she's perfect now."

Waunsch says he knows the task will be a daunting one going up against the likes of Bear Fan, Harmony Lodge, and possibly Lady Tak in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney.

"She's never run against horses of that caliber before," said Waunsch. "But we've got the homecourt advantage. I'm not sure how those other horses are going to handle the kind of heat we've had around here of late, and she should get in pretty light."

Dancing Guy benefits from slow pace

Friday's allowance feature turned into one of the most strangely run races of the year when Dancing Guy was allowed to lope through extremely slow fractions on the lead en route to a wire-to-wire victory over 3-5 favorite Aeneas.

Dancing Guy set fractions of 26.19 seconds, 51.72, and 1:16.77 in the one-mile optional claiming race. By comparison, one race later a field of maiden $12,500 claimers posted splits of 24.41, 48.78, and 1:14.88 going the same distance. Dancing Guy drew off easily when set down through the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths, despite drifting so badly he finished closer to the outside fence than the inner rail, and having his jockey, M.R. Cruz, lose his whip near the sixteenth pole.

Trainer Marty Wolfson was pleased with Aeneas's effort, even though Aeneas had to settle for second in his first start in five months.

"The fractions were soft, and he finished well the last quarter," said Wolfson. "He'll be going out of town for his next start. I just don't know what race yet."

* Trainer Tim Ritvo had two winners disqualified on the same card here Saturday: Coruscant, following her apparent victory in the second race, and Moment of Song, who finished first in the seventh race.