Ball Dancing, Danish Dynaformer look to bounce back at Woodbine

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June 30th, 2016

Continued from this post on Lady Shipman in the Highlander (G2)

Trainer Chad Brown has one very intriguing entrant on Sunday’s Woodbine card in Ball Dancing, a potential overlay at 12-1 – if she regains form in the C$200,000 Dance Smartly (G2) for fillies and mares.

A smart performer in France, the repatriated daughter of Exchange Rate landed the 2014 Sands Point (G2) in her U.S. debut and took second in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1). Ball Dancing maintained that strong profile early in 2015, finishing second to Stephanie’s Kitten in the Hillsborough (G3) prior to her signature victory in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland. But she never factored when eighth in the Just a Game (G1) and headed for a long spell on the sidelines.

Ball Dancing has shown little in her two outings so far this season, but there may have been extenuating circumstances. She was simply run off her feet in her comeback in the March 12 Hillsborough, where champion Tepin caught tearaway Isabella Sings in course-record time. Ball Dancing likely lost her chance early in the May 14 Beaugay (G3), breaking through the gate prematurely and then getting clipped behind in a rough opening furlong or so. Now at a crossroads, she takes blinkers off in hope of resuscitating her career. If she retains something of her old ability, this would be the spot to elicit it.

Former Canadian Horse of the Year Lexie Lou was in a similar situation before regaining her spark in the May 19 Nassau (G2) here. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to build on that when tiring to 10th in the latest renewal of the Just a Game on Belmont Day. A return to her happy hunting grounds ought to help the Mark Casse mare, who may be joined by as many as three stablemates – Uchenna, a strong-closing sixth in the Nassau and likely to enjoy the added furlong here; Season Ticket, exiting an allowance score; and Industrial Policy, fourth in last year’s Dance Smartly.

Defending Dance Smartly champion (and past Sovereign Award winner) Strut the Course promises to perform up to her usually high level. She earned her other Grade 2 victory in last September’s Canadian over this same course and nine-furlong trip, and checked in a creditable fourth versus international rivals in the E.P. Taylor (G1). Resuming with a convincing allowance win over Woodbine’s new Tapeta,  the Barbara Minshall mare was a flying third in the one-mile Nassau and will put up a solid title defense on Sunday.

Other contenders include the Bill Mott-trained Heath, a wide-closing third in a tight finish to the Gallorette (G3); Group 3 veteran and E.P. Taylor sixth Nakuti, who can be forgiven her flop on soft ground in the Sheepshead Bay (G2) for the ever-dangerous Graham Motion; Jeremiah Englehart’s last-out Mount Vernon winner The Tea Cups, who ventures outside of the New York-bred confines; recent allowance-winning import Goodyearforroses from the Roger Attfield barn; and Secret Action, the 28-1 upsetter in last fall’s restricted Carotene at this track and trip.

Earlier Sunday, the C$150,000 Singspiel (G3) offers a chance for Danish Dynaformer to get back on track. The 6-1 has plenty of appeal, both on his own merit and as the representative of Hall of Famer Attfield, who owned this race prior to Aldous Snow’s recent ascendancy.

Danish Dynaformer smashed the Breeders’ Stakes, the third jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, over this course and 1 1/2-mile distance last summer. But he wasn’t ready for prime time when unplaced in the Northern Dancer Turf (G1) and Canadian International (G1). The beautifully bred Dynaformer colt was a closing sixth last time in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) on Derby Day, and the combination of added ground and class relief should see him in a much better light.

Mike Maker and the Ramseys will send out the 8-5 morning line favorite in Generous Kitten. The late-developing homebred by Kitten’s Joy brings a two-race winning streak, and a pair of bullet works, into his stakes debut.

Two-time defending champion Aldous Snow must be respected as he seeks the three-peat. Unlike 2015, when the Singspiel marked his only win of the year, the Malcolm Pierce veteran warmed up with a local allowance victory – as he did in 2014. Money Talker, fourth in last year’s Singspiel, was third in the same allowance.

Hardest Core, whose Arlington Million (G1) upset was one of the most heartwarming stories of 2014, makes the second start on the comeback trail here. Spotted only once in 2015, when a tailed-off last of six in the Man o’ War (G1), he was a non-threatening eighth off the 13-month layoff at Belmont June 3. Unless Hardest Core engineers a turnaround, might he end up pursuing that jumps career for Eddie Graham after all?

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Top photo of Ball Dancing courtesy Keeneland/Coady Photography.

Danish Dynaformer photo courtesy WEG/Michael Burns Photography.