Riverland returned running.
Out since last August -- when chips were removed from her ankles -- the Allen's Prospect filly came back with a flourish yesterday, notching a 3 1/2 -length score in the $31,575 Notches Trace Stakes at Laurel Park.
Riverland did it in front-running fashion, leading at every post and justifying her 4-to-5 favoritism.
"She didn't seem nervous, but she sure seemed ready to run," said winning jockey Mark Johnston. "She almost broke the gate. I didn't think it would open fast enough."
Dance for Jan ran second in the field of five, three parts of a length ahead of Loudoun Top. The winning time for six furlongs was 1 minute, 11 seconds.
It was the second stakes victory against fillies of Riverland's age group (3-year-olds). She won the Toddler on Aug. 6 before being shut down.
The outcome sets up a possible showdown between Riverland and Secret Prospect, voted the champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old filly last week.
Riverland's trainer, Gerald Delp, is looking forward to that.
"I wouldn't trade places with anyone," he said of Secret Prospect's connections. "I like my chances. We'll be competition for Secret Prospect."