08/30/2006 11:00PM

Timonium: Relief for Dance Fee

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There is no Kentucky Oaks winner, no Grade 1 stakes filly in the $50,000 Alma North at Timonium, and that should come as a relief to trainer Michael Gorham and as class relief for his mare Dance Fee.

Dance Fee finished fifth and last in a restricted stakes at Saratoga, the Ashado, which came up loaded. Summerly, the 2005 Kentucky Oaks winner, won that Aug. 4 race, with the Grade 1 winner In the Gold finishing third. If nothing else, that race should have been a perfect Alma North prep for Dance Fee, who hadn't raced since finishing second in the Rooney Memorial at Delaware on June 3.

At about 6 1/2 furlongs, the Alma North is a bit shorter than Dance Fee's comfort zone. But it's a two-turn race on Timonium's five-furlong oval, and Dance Fee, who breaks from the outside post 8, should get a nice trip stalking likely pacesetter Spirited Game.

Spirited Game figures to grab the lead from post 2. She had the lead by a head in midstretch of her last start, the six-furlong Candy Eclair July 4 at Monmouth, but couldn't hold on and finished third.

Grant's Moon won the Alma North last year, and she's a late-running threat to do it again. She failed to win in six starts, all stakes, following the Alma North, but ended that streak with a 2 1/4-length optional claiming score at Pimlico in her last start June 2.