07/08/2011 3:58PM

Woodbine: Bay to Bay must answer questions in Dance Smartly

Michael Burns
Bay to Bay, winning the Nassau over soft turf in June, will try 1 1/8 miles for the first time in the Dance Smartly.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Bay to Bay seemed to benefit from some give in the ground when she captured the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes, and it will be interesting to see how she’ll handle a much harder turf course Sunday at Woodbine in the Grade 2, $300,000 Dance Smartly Stakes.

Bay to Bay, a 4-year-old trained by Brian Lynch, won the Grade 3 Natalma Stakes at 2, and the American 1000 Guineas as a 3-year-old at Arlington. She ran twice this year at Gulfstream, finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Honey Fox and second in a demanding optional claimer.

Traveling a mile over yielding turf here in the June 4 Nassau, Bay to Bay scored by two lengths over the favored invader Never Retreat.

Bay to Bay has never competed as far as the nine-furlong distance of the Dance Smartly, but Lynch said this situation should be suitable for her.

“I don’t think the distance will be a big thing,” said Lynch. “I would prefer to see a little bit of sting out of the ground, but she’s run good over a couple of fast turf courses before.”

Bay to Bay will be ridden by Luis Contreras, who is serving a suspension but has an exemption to ride in this race.

Trainer Roger Attfield entered Mekong Melody, No Explaining and Miss Keller.

Mekong Melody won last year’s Dance Smartly, along with two other stakes. She never threatened in her lone outing this year in the Nassau, but Attfield anticipates a better race from her after she breezed five-eighths on the turf in 59.40 last Wednesday.

“She worked great,” said Attfield.

No Explaining won her first two starts of the year, most notably the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico. She was beaten a nose in the 1 1/16-mile allowance prep for the Dance Smartly.

“She’s a really nice filly,” said Attfield. “The farther, the better.”

Miss Keller was the champion female turf horse in Canada last year, but she could only manage sixth over yielding ground in each of her two starts in the spring, in a pair of Grade 2 stakes.

“In the spring, she had a lot of little female issues working against her,” Attfield recalled. “I think she’s rounding into form.”

Never Retreat has shipped back in from Arlington. She had a very wide trip the only time that she missed the board in the past year, which came in the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile in May.