04/14/2010 11:00PM

Striking Dancer tough off her last


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Working on the assumption that horse owners invariably lose money in the racing game, Dr. Stan Kaplan is true to his generous spirit as the force behind the Stevestan Stables.

But Striking Dancer, the favorite for the Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes on Friday at Keeneland, is doing her best to offset her owner's expenses. As a four-time winner who has banked more than $220,000 from 12 starts, the 4-year-old filly is becoming quite the moneymaker for Kaplan, a prominent Cincinnati philanthropist, and his son, Steve.

Ken McPeek, who trains Striking Dancer for Stevestan, believes another nice payday could be forthcoming when she faces six other fillies and mares in the 16th running of the $100,000 Doubledogdare.

"If she runs back to the race she ran against Zenyatta, she's going to be pretty salty Friday," McPeek said.

In her most recent race, the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap on March 13, Striking Dancer finished fourth, beaten less than two lengths by the great Zenyatta. Before that, she won the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes on Feb. 14.

The Santa Margarita and La Canada both were run at 1 1/8 miles on the Pro-Ride synthetic at Santa Anita, while the 1 1/16-mile Doubledogdare will be run over Polytrack.

Striking Dancer has excelled on turf and synthetic thus far, although McPeek said he is eager to give her a try on dirt before too long.

"We're really pleased with the way she's matured, and it looks like she can do just about anything," he said. "She's a pretty special filly."

Robby Albarado will be aboard Striking Dancer when the Smart Strike filly breaks from post 3 in the ninth of 10 races Friday.

If Striking Dancer disappoints, Funny Moon and Starship Angel look like the most logical to fill the void. Funny Moon, a Grade 1 winner at 3 in New York, will be making her first start in nearly eight months while sporting a steady recent work pattern for trainer Christophe Clement. Starship Angel has won 3 of her last 4 starts and most recently captured a restricted stakes March 18 at Aqueduct.

Haka, No Use Denying, Unforgotten, and Lady's Laughter round out the lineup.