10/25/2007 11:00PM

My Imperial Dancer on rise

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - My Imperial Dancer has improved dramatically since an equipment change and probably deserves top billing in Sunday's $125,000 Bunty Lawless Stakes at Woodbine.

My Imperial Dancer wasn't an impact player in his first five appearances at the meeting. Trainer Norm McKnight took the blinkers off for an Ontario-sired allowance Aug. 16, and the gelding finished third in a 10-horse field.

My Imperial Dancer subsequently notched his first stakes win in the Halton, a race restricted to graduates of local yearling sales. He earned a career-high 97 Beyer Speed Figure most recently, when second to a sharp Awesome Action in the one-mile allowance prep for the Bunty Lawless.

"We were having a little trouble with him at the beginning of the season getting him to relax," McKnight said. "He got into some trouble the first time we took the blinkers off. The next couple of races, he had a great trip and everything worked out fine. He's learned to relax a lot better without the blinkers on."

McKnight said My Imperial Dancer has continued to train forwardly.

"He's just gotten better and better," McKnight said. "He hasn't been this good all season. I expect a real big effort from him."

The one-mile turf event has lured 12 other Ontario-sired runners, most notably Rahy's Attorney, who has beaten My Imperial Dancer twice this year.

Rahy's Attorney, a 3-year-old trained by Ian Black, has blossomed into a productive turf specialist this year. He won two consecutive allowances in the summer before capturing a race for Ontario-sired runners, the one-mile Vice Regent Stakes.

Rahy's Attorney met older second-level allowance opposition last time over 1 1/4 miles and wound up third after a three-wide stalking trip.

"I thought it was a good effort against those older horses," Black said. "The 9-hole hurt us. The mile and a quarter start is close to the first turn, and he never got a chance to get over."

Black believes the turn-back in distance Sunday may not be to the benefit of the long-winded Rahy's Attorney.

"When it's all said and done, I think a mile might be too short for him," Black said.

* Awesome Action should be favored in Sunday's supporting feature, the $100,000 Labeeb Stakes, which is scheduled for a mile on the turf.

Ontario Derby winner Artie Hot is also in with a chance, and he might be the one to fear most if the race is switched to the Polytrack.