04/14/2010 11:00PM

Opportunity to end long losing streak


ARCADIA, Calif. - Second-best was no shame for Dance to My Tune in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational at Santa Anita on March 13, especially since the winner was the undefeated champion Zenyatta.

"She ran fantastic," said Dan Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

If Dance to My Tune repeats that race in Friday's $55,000 Santa Lucia Handicap, she could record the third stakes win of her career. Dance to My Tune is winless in 16 starts since the Jammed Lovely Stakes at Woodbine in November 2007, her second stakes win.

The Santa Lucia is run over 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic main track and is restricted to fillies and mares that have not won a stakes at a mile or over this year. Dance to My Tune has made three starts this year. The Santa Margarita was her best result, losing by 1 1/4 lengths to Zenyatta.

"She ran a solid race," Ward said. "That was over a mile and an eighth and she's won three races at a mile and a sixteenth."

The Santa Lucia has drawn a field of six, including Made for Magic, who won an optional claimer over a mile by 8 3/4 lengths on April 2; and Third Dawn, who won the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar last September in her most recent start.

Third Dawn had a bone chip removed from an ankle last fall. Trainer John Sadler and owners Ike and Dawn Thrash had the La Canada series for 4-year-old fillies earlier at this meeting in mind for Third Dawn, but she was not ready in time. Second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in 2009, Third Dawn has never been worse than third in three starts on Santa Anita's synthetic track.

Sadler envisions the Santa Lucia as a prep for more lucrative races later this year.

"The pressure isn't on her," he said. "She won a stakes last year. She's Grade 1-placed. The idea this year is to win a graded stakes with her."

Made for Magic won the Las Madrinas Handicap at Fairplex Park last September and lost eight consecutive races before the April 2 win, the largest margin of her career.

"She sat in a perfect spot and was a distant second and was well relaxed," Avila said of her April 2 win. "I'm hopeful she can sit in the same spot."