07/19/2011 1:40PM

Woodbine: R Unpainted Dancer still on the rise


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – R Unpainted Dancer’s rise from a low-level claimer to a thriving Ontario-sired allowance performer has been one of the unsung success stories at the Woodbine meet. She will try to win her second race in a row in Thursday’s feature, an Ontario-sired allowance route for nonwinners of three.

R Unpainted Dancer, a 6-year-old mare trained by Dorna Gordon, graduated over $5,000 maidens at her Fort Erie base in 2009. She competed for as little as $4,000 last year, but began to turn the corner here late last fall, when she finished fourth and then second in two restricted allowances.

R Unpainted Dancer dead-heated for second after setting an honest pace when she was beaten a head in her May 13 season opener. After ending up fourth three weeks later on the grass, she wired nonwinners-of-two opposition with a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 66, in her first start with blinkers and Emile Ramsammy aboard.

Baganara won that May 13 allowance as the favorite, after taking the long way home in her first appearance of the year. She has been idle since June 8, when she finished a wide fifth in a difficult allowance won by Isabella Bay, who subsequently ran third in the Ontario Damsel Stakes.

Slade Callaghan will ride Baganara again for his wife, owner-trainer Kelly Callaghan.

Nicola’s Nickers had a productive month of June. She captured an allowance on turf with a 72 Beyer in her next-to-last outing, and is coming off a second to favored Lucky Be Me on Polytrack, for which she got just a 59 Beyer.

Emma Wilson retains the mount on Nicola’s Nickers, who is trained by Nick Gonzalez.

Olivia’s Song has never competed around two turns, but there’s ample stamina in her pedigree. She graduated over a good field traveling five furlongs in her season opener, but failed to duplicate that performance in three subsequent allowances. She rallied from off a slow pace to capture a seven-furlong allowance with a 74 Beyer in her first grass start July 2.

Winning Charm has struggled since her encouraging seasonal debut. She’s getting a rider change to Luis Contreras, who teamed up with trainer Mike DePaulo to win last Sunday’s Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie with Pender Harbour.

Spend Now and Save appears to be cycling up to a peak race, and looms a prospect for the bottom of superfecta wagers.