Thoroughbred owner Rocco DeMilio's 10-race winning streak ended yesterday as Sir Dance faded to sixth in a $50,000 claiming race at Laurel.

DeMilio's four-horse stable hadn't missed a victory since Nov. 3, a phenomenal spell he credited to Howard Wolfendale's training, Rick Wilson's riding and "more than our share of luck." But good fortune seemed to expire before Sir Dance even left the starting gate.

He had rallied from last place in winning his previous start, but Regal Gem's defection left only one true speedster in yesterday's race -- Cheerfy. That prompted Wolfendale and Wilson to change tactics.

"I knew when {Regal Gem} scratched, I was going to be in trouble," Wilson said. "I've ridden Cheerfy before. I knew if he was out there long enough by himself, I wasn't going to catch him."

As Santos Chavez sent Cheerfy to the lead, Wilson rode Sir Dance aggressively to try to pressure the front-runner. They were well ahead of the field -- Cheerfy retaining about a two-length lead -- when Sir Dance began to fall back shortly into the stretch. Cheerfy widened his lead and withstood the strong advances of Roman Mist and Turn To Dancin.

"We all know it had to end sometime," said DeMilio, a resident of Crofton.

DeMilio and Wolfendale have been associated since 1985, when the trainer was struggling with a small stable. Today Wolfendale is one of Maryland's highest-percentage trainers, and this meet is only four winners shy of top-ranked King Leatherbury.

"As far as Howard Wolfendale is concerned, it showed he really is a top-class trainer," DeMilio said. "I deserve the least credit of all."

Cheers and Tears

Dandy Danzig won his first race yesterday and brought a wave of tears to a huge gathering in the winner's circle.

Laurel named its seventh race in honor of Chris Fabifzak, a longtime groom who was found dead in a Baltimore apartment last week at age 32. Fabifzak spent the past three years working for trainer Joe Devereux and became particularly fond of a burgeoning 2-year-old: Dandy Danzig.

"I've been in races with more money on the line," Devereux said. "But I've never wanted a win more than this one."

According to a Baltimore police spokesman, Fabifzak died as a result of drug and alcohol ingestion.