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"In My Eyes, She's 2-1"


Published: October 28, 2011 2:50 pm ET

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Trainer Joe Holloway sends three horses into Saturday's Breeders Crown finals, with all three garnering 12-1 morning line odds. With six Breeders Crown trophies to his credit, his horses could provide horseplayers with great value.

Two-year-old trotting filly For A Dancer tasted defeat for the first time in her career in last Friday's elim, finishing a strong second to divisional darling Check Me Out. Holloway noted that the filly raced gamely despite a three-week layoff.

"Check Me Out was excellent that night. We didn't get beat that much and [For A Dancer] handled the track great," stated Holloway at the Breeders Crown press conference on Tuesday. "I drew well with the other two horses, and if I had to draw the worst post it would probably be with this filly. She's very handy. We'll find a spot and the way the whole draw shook out, I think the race shapes up that I can tell you at about an eighth of a mile if it's going to be a good post or bad but right now I don't know for sure if it's all that bad."

For A Dancer, a daughter of Conway Hall out of the 2001 Merrie Annabelle winner Fluttering Wings, had tallied eight straight wins racing primarily in the New York Sire Stakes before her loss last Friday. The filly was staked and campaigned according to a plan crafted by Bluestone Farms' Mitchel Skolnick.

"She's a very small filly, she probably weighs about what I do," joked Holloway. "We didn't want to put her in too many hard races early. It's worked out so far, let's see how it works out Saturday."

For A Dancer will have regular driver Jeff Gregory at the controls on Saturday night, with Post 9 in the second race. Holloway wouldn't go so far as to say he would beat favoured Check Me Out but he is expecting a "good performance". If all goes well on Saturday, For A Dancer's next stakes engagement will be the Goldsmith Maid at Harrah's Chester.

In the next race, the Breeders Crown final for two-year-old filly pacers, Holloway's hopes rest on a horse he co-owns: Marty Party. Holloway, who won this Breeders Crown final on Canadian soil in 2000 with Lady MacBeach, feels his filly can go with the best in the country even though she comes into the Breeders Crown off the poorest performances in her ten-race career.

"She had a pus pocket in Lexington and it never really went away. She didn't show it that bad when she was going and I raced her," stated Holloway. "I feel that she did show it at the end of her mile, I was ready to stop with her. But it totally popped and she's gotten better and better so we decided to come.

"Before Lexington, I thought she was certainly the first or second best filly in the country and I still feel that way. She's been beat, now she has to beat somebody."

When asked about her 12-1 morning line assessment, Holloway quickly replied "in my eyes, she's 2-1. Great value. She trained Tuesday morning in New Jersey and shipped up to Classy Lane on Wednesday."

Dave Palone will drive Marty Party for Holloway, Val D'Or Farms, the Four Js Stable and Dreamland Farms. After Saturday, Holloway plans on sending Marty Party to Chester after the Breeders Crown for the Three Diamonds, with eliminations set for Sunday, November 6.

Escape The News looks to give Holloway his third Crown trophy in the two-year-old pacing colt division. The homebred son of Artiscape has the rail and driver Brian Sears for Brittany and Val D'Or Farms.

"Brian raced him accordingly. He got out and had pace, he paced to the wire," said Holloway. "At first, I thought it was excellent. Watching it, I would have liked to see him close a little bit better but he got the rail in a very, very competitive field of horses."

Holloway, who won this division with the great Jennas Beach Boy in 1994 - also at Woodbine - and Badlands Hanover in 1998, feels this race is more wide-open than the 8-5 odds assessed to A Rocknroll Dance would indicate.

"There is no standout. I know right now they probably have A Rocknroll Dance as the favourite, and it looks like he's starting to separate from the field but in my eyes I don't think anyone can afford a tough trip in that race. Whichever horse trips out, has a really good go, they can surprise.

"I just don't think you're looking at a dominant-type horse. Sometimes when you look at a dominant horse you figure they need bad luck and we need great luck. I feel in that race, not just my horse but any of them, whoever gets the best trip wins."

All 12 of the 2011 Breeders Crown finals will take centre stage this Saturday (October 29) at Woodbine Racetrack in suburban Toronto. The program will feature a special first-race post time of 6:30 p.m. (ET).

With more than $6 million in purses money on the line, the racing program will mark the first time in Canada that all 12 of the Breeders Crown championships will be contested on the same card. The Score will be broadcasting the evening live, coast-to-coast in Canada. The broadcast will begin at 7:30 p.m. and run until 11:15 p.m.

To view the entries for Woodbine's Breeders Crown program, click here. To access a free printable program for Breeders Crown Night courtesy of TrackIT, click here.

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