09/25/2007 11:00PM

Right spot, right time for Kiki's Dance

EmailSAN MATEO, Calif. - The only trepidation trainer John Martin felt when longtime client Richard Englander called and suggested he claim Kiki's Dance for $25,000 was that he wished Englander had called him two races earlier when the 4-year-old filly was entered for $8,000.

"I looked at her and didn't pull the trigger," Martin said. "When he called and asked me to look at her, I knew she was a good-looking horse."

Kiki's Dance will make her second start for Martin and Englander in a $25,000 option claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs Friday at Bay Meadows. She beat similar company in a six-furlong race in her first start for Martin on Sept. 8. She was entered for the entry-level allowance condition in that race, but runs for the $25,000 tag Friday night.

Kiki's Dance finished last, beaten 15 1/2 lengths the day she was claimed. Martin was willing to ignore that effort because it came in her first turf route.

While she beat similar foes with ease last time, Martin decided not to raise her in class because he believes the filly belongs at this level.

"There's not that many categories for this type of horse," he said.

While another strong effort might convince him to test Kiki's Dance against better, Martin says he considers her a "horse for the moment."

"This is a good level for her," he said. "It's hard to deny her the chance to go 5 1/2 furlongs and run her back in a spot like this.

"It's the right spot. We want to take advantage of her liking the track. Basically, she's running in the same race again. Hopefully, she'll be the horse to beat."

Kiki's Dance meets seven rivals, including the Andy Mathis-trained entry of Pieces of Paradise and Gayle's Gala.

Strong cases can be made for the comebacking Corcina, who has never finished off the board, and Classy Jo, claimed for $16,000 on Sept. 9 when she finished second off a three-month layoff.

Classy Jo has speed and is comfortable sitting in a close stalking spot. She has 3 wins and 3 seconds in 6 starts here. She is drawn immediately outside Kiki's Dance in post 3.

Corcina hasn't run since Nov. 26. She was second twice sprinting before she graduated at one mile last fall. She finished second to Bai and Bai in the Palo Alto at 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf here before running second in a turf sprint at Hollywood Park, her last start.