02/24/2011 3:55PM

Ward sees Dancinginherdreams as comeback artist


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – No trainer is every happy to lose a race, especially a graded stakes. But trainer John Ward said he was happy with what he saw from his Kentucky Oaks hopeful Dancinginherdreams even in defeat here earlier this winter in the Grade 2 Forward Gal.

Ward is hopeful Dancinginherdreams will take the lesson she learned in the Forward Gal and use it to get back on the winning track when she stretches out to a mile for the second time in Saturday’s $250,000 Davona Dale. Dancinginherdreams will take on eight other 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 2 Davona Dale, including the only horse to have beaten her in three starts, Pomeroys Pistol, who won the Forward Gal by a rapidly diminishing three-quarters of a length on Jan. 30.

Dancinginherdreams, a daughter of Tapit owned by John Oxley, was a sensation right off the bat winning her only two starts at 2 by a combined 10 1/4 lengths. Included among those victories was an easy 5 1/4-length triumph in Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Pocahantas, a race that, like the Davona Dale, is decided out of a one-mile chute.

Dancinginherdreams dropped back to her customary position at the rear of the pack behind the pacesetting Pomeroys Pistol in the run down the backstretch of the seven-furlong Forward Gal. But she lost valuable ground and momentum when swinging very wide off the final turn under regular rider Julien Leparoux before gradually cutting into the winner’s final advantage down the stretch.

“The filly showed me a new dimension and some grit this last time,” said Ward. “She was chasing horses down and running to catch the leader instead of just blowing to the lead and galloping like she did in her first two starts.”

Pomeroys Pistol will have a new rider but figures to use the same running style as she did in the Forward Gal for the Davona Dale for her owner-trainer-breeder Amy Tarrant. Ramon Dominguez will replace the injury Paco Lopez aboard Pomeroys Pistol, who figures to be on the lead from the outset again on Saturday.

Perhaps the most intriguing member of the field is the undefeated Oh Carole, who has won each of her first two starts including an entry-level allowance race by nearly two lengths here on Jan. 30 for trainer Eddie Kenneally.

“I feel like she’s certainly a stakes-caliber filly, and I’d be surprised if she doesn’t get some black type sometime this year,” said Kenneally. “Whether it will be Saturday, I don’t know, since we are at a disadvantage racing against more seasoned fillies. But she’s got plenty of raw talent and a mile should be well within her scope.”

R Heat Lightning, runner-up behind Eclipse Award winner Awesome Feather in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, will try to improve on a disappointing 3-year-old debut when she finished a wide-running fourth in the Forward Gal. R Heat Lightning won the Grade 1 Spinaway at 2.

Mending Hearts, Hot Summer, Evil Queen, Bellaridge, and Roxy Gap complete the lineup.