12/30/2005 12:00AM

No standout in Dancing Count


Great Seneca, unbeaten in two starts, and Crafty Tricker, whose three victories include an $85,000 stakes, head a group of evenly matched 3-year-old sprinters for Sunday's Dancing Count Stakes at Laurel Park.

The 5 1/2-furlong race, which carries a purse of $75,000, drew a field of seven, including an uncoupled entry from trainer Tim Salzman.

Trainer Gary Capuano said he considered running Great Seneca in the one-mile Maryland Juvenile Championship on New Year's Eve, but decided it would be best to keep him sprinting for now, so the Dancing Count was a more appealing option.

"He acts like a horse that has some talent," Capuano said of Great Seneca, who followed up a game neck victory over maidens with a 1 1/2-length win against optional claimers on Dec. 18. "He's ready to move on to the next level and try stakes. This horse is focused. He doesn't need things to go his way in order to win."

Crafty Tricker is the more accomplished of the two horses Salzman has entered, with 3 wins in 9 starts, including starts in 5 stakes. His best win came in the six-furlong Mountaineer Juvenile in August.

In his two most recent outings, Crafty Tricker was a troubled fourth in the H. Steward Mitchell and a non-threatening fourth after a wide trip in a high-priced optional claimer at Aqueduct.

Salzman said jockey Eric Camacho was forced to steady Crafty Tricker twice in the Nov. 26 Mitchell, once when a hole closed in the stretch and again just before the wire. Jockey Mike Luzzi told Salzman that Crafty Tricker did not handle Aqueduct's inner dirt.

Salzman's other starter, Hounddogman, makes the third start of his form cycle. He showed improved speed last time out when he lost to Great Seneca by 2 1/2 lengths.

Others with a shot are recent maiden winner Ah Day; Imanewtontoo, who adds Lasix for his second start off the claim for trainer Scott Lake; and The Village Vicar, who comes off a career-best 83 Beyer Speed Figure earned against claimers in New York.