Updated on 09/18/2011 1:31AM

Soldier's Dancer best surprise of day


MIAMI - As expected, several new stars emerged from Saturday's Florida Million Day, not the least of which was Herman Heinlein's promising 2-year-old Soldier's Dancer.

Returning from a two-month layoff, Soldier's Dancer registered a 6 3/4-length victory in his grass debut in the Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf Stakes, earning an 89 Beyer Speed Figure in the process. The win was the third in seven starts for Soldier's Dancer, a gelded son of Lost Soldier who began his career racing under a $32,000 claiming tag.

"I knew he would be a decent horse all along, but I didn't know he'd be that decent," said trainer David Vivian.

Vivian said just getting Soldier's Dancer ready for the Juvenile Turf was a project.

"We put up $7,000 to enter him in the final of the Florida Stallion Stakes, only to have him get hurt three days before the race," said Vivian. "He stepped on himself and put a hole in his left front leg. He had a piece of proud flesh showing as big as your thumb. I had to get to the barn every morning at 4 a.m. to tub him in ice before he'd gallop and spend another hour putting him in ice after he'd gallop, and the thing would still bleed on me up until just a few days before this last race."

Despite the injury, Vivian said Soldier's Dancer trained extremely well for the Appleton, putting in three good works and a steady diet of two-mile gallops, all on the main track.

"Right now I'd say he's probably a little better on turf than dirt, although he handles both well," said Vivian. "But I think I'm going to keep him on grass for the time being and point for the Kris S. Stakes here next month."

The $100,000 Kris S. is scheduled at 1 1/16 miles on the grass on Dec. 9.

Soldier's Dancer joined fellow juveniles Dream of Angels and Secretsoftheheart as three of the young stars of Saturday's Florida Million show.

Dream of Angels, who shipped in from Remington Park, upset local division leaders Green Vegas and Yesbyjimminy in the Jack Price Juvenile Sprint. Secretsoftheheart remained undefeated after scoring by three lengths in the Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies Stakes.

Straight Faced waits for next race

One horse conspicuous by his absence on Saturday was Straight Faced, who would likely have been the favorite had he run as scheduled in the Jack Price. Trainer Steve DiMauro had to scratch Straight Faced from the race after Straight Faced developed an abscess in his left front foot earlier in the week.

Straight Faced has been plagued by foot troubles all season. He won the Affirmed Stakes on Sept. 2 despite missing valuable training time and wearing a bar shoe to protect a tender frog in the left front foot.

"Same foot, different injury," DiMauro said. "The last time, it was his frog. This time he developed an abscess that finally began to drain the night before the Jack Price. Right now, he's on antibiotics, and once we get the injury completely drained and toughened up he'll go back to work."

Depending upon how much training time Straight Faced misses because of the latest setback, DiMauro said he will either run Straight Faced in early December or wait for a race in January. The early-December options are the two-turn What A Pleasure at Calder on Dec. 3 and the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 9. The option in January is the Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream on Jan. 7, after which Straight Faced would be pointed for the Sunshine Millions later in the month.

"Right now I'm probably leaning towards the latter course, because it gives him more time, and the spacing between those two races is very good," said DiMauro.

Darluna retired from racing

DiMauro said he had also hoped to run Darluna in Saturday's Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap, but he not only had to pass that race but also announced that she would be retired.

"She's had some issues we've been dealing with all along, and we had hoped to get her to the Sunshine Millions Distaff before retiring her for breeding," said DiMauro.

Darluna registered her most impressive victory in her final start, when she captured the Shocker T. Handicap by 18 1/2 lengths on Oct. 14. A daughter of Premiership, she concluded her career with six wins in 23 starts and earnings of $181,000.

DiMauro did get a little consolation Saturday when Eternal Look finished second at 31-1, beaten a head by D'Artagnanas'spirit, in the Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap.

Olivares loses two heartbreakers

Trainer Luis Olivares also had a frustrating afternoon Saturday, when he watched his top 2-year-old Green Vegas drop a tough neck decision to Dream of Angels in the Jack Price and his 31-1 Dazzling Dr. Cevin get nipped in the final stride by favorite Rehoboth in the Carl G. Rose Classic Handicap. Green Vegas, who was gaining on Dream of Angels at the end of the Jack Price, showed his versatility turning back to seven furlongs. He had won his previous two starts around two turns, in the Foolish Pleasure and In Reality.

* Jonathon Fearon registered his first career training victory when Eurofeline won Sunday's third race. Fearon, 48, a native of Manchester, England, was raised in Jamaica and took out his trainer's license less than a month ago. He had previously worked for trainer Myra Mora.