07/08/2009 11:00PM

Two champs challenge Mushka


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - New York shippers have gotten hammered at the windows at Woodbine in recent weeks, and Mushka should be the next one to garner lots of tote support when she contests Saturday's $300,000 Dance Smartly Stakes.

The Grade 2 Dance Smartly, a 1 1/8-mile race on turf, tops a card that includes the $150,000 Toronto Cup, a nine-furlong turf event restricted to 3-year-olds.

An excellent eight-horse field will contest the Dance Smartly. The group includes 2008 Canadian champions Callwood Dancer and Ginger Brew, plus another New York invader, Colina Verde.

Mushka, a 4-year-old trained by Bill Mott, captured the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes at 2. She has been campaigned primarily on turf this year, although she won a third-level allowance two starts ago over Keeneland's Polytrack.

Mushka was beaten a head when second in the Grade 3 Suwannee River Stakes at Gulfstream in February. She has been freshened since ending up second to the favored front-runner Criticism in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont on May 23.

Callwood Dancer, last year's champion female turf runner, peaked last fall when she checked in second in both the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor and the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes.

Callwood Dancer was a non-threatening fifth in her first appearance of the year in the Suwannee River, and was subsequently eased in the Grade 3 The Very One Stakes at Gulfstream. Most recently, here in the Grade 2 Nassau, she was blocked during most of the stretch run before getting up for second behind the heavily favored Rutherienne.

Trainer Roger Attfield said he was happy to see the real Callwood Dancer show up for the Nassau.

Ginger Brew was last year's Canadian champion 3-year-old filly when she won the Woodbine Oaks and finished a close second in the $1 million Queen's Plate.

Ginger Brew ran third in both the Grade 2 Rampart and Marshua's River Stakes at Gulfstream, and had traffic problems when fifth in the Grade 3 Endeavour Stakes at Tampa.

"She got into a lot of trouble," said trainer Brian Lynch, referring to the Endeavour. "She got stopped and got shuffled right back."

Colina Verde, who is based at Belmont, wound up fourth in a tough allowance at Keeneland in her first try for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. She broke awkwardly before finishing fourth last time in the Sheepshead Bay.