Tim Ritchey Racing Stables and Beverly Frazier's Dancing Afleet recorded her first stake and graded stakes win with her victory in the $300,000 Grade II Delaware Oaks today. With Joshua Navarro aboard, the Delaware Certified filly by Afleet Alex won by a half length over Ile St. Molly, with Alex Cintron. Tell A Great Story, with Forest Boyce, was another 1 ¾-lengths behind the top pair. The 6-to-5 favorite in the field of nine, Maracuya, with Edgar Prado, finished seventh.
Dancing Afleet returned $21.80. She covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:44.59 over a fast track after Ile St. Molly and Maracuya battled through early fractions of :47.64 for the half mile and 1:11.40 the three-quarter mile. Dancing Afleet, a Pennsylvania-bred conditioned by Delaware Park based trainer Tim Ritchey raised her career record to three wins from five starts. She bankrolled $187,500 for the victory to raise her career earnings to $248,950.
Winning trainer Tim Ritchey, who was leading trainer at Delaware Park in 1992 through 1994, 1996 and 2001, won the Delaware Oaks before with Moon Catcher in 2007.
“We've won this before, but it's great to win it again,” Ritchey said. “It's always great to win a race like this, a graded race with this kind of money at my home racetrack with a Delaware-certified horse. It's a good thing.”
Dancing Afleet had just broken her maiden going one mile at Delaware Park on June 13. She followed with a mile and seventy yard allowance victory at Delaware Park on June 24.
“It was a big step up, but it was the right time to do it,” Ritchey said. “The timing was right, and I always thought this horse had the potential to do this.”
Ritchey is pointing her toward the Cotillion Stakes to be run at Parx on September 21.
“I've got her nominated on an early nomination to the Cotillion, so that's a possibility,” Ritchey said. “We'll just have to see how she comes out of this race first, and we'll take one step at a time.”
Winning rider Joshua Navarro was the jockey aboard second-place Ile St. Molly for her two previous starts, so he had an idea of what to expect in the stretch run.
“Trainer Tim Ritchey told me to take her back from the start and sit behind,” said winning rider Joshua Navarro. “When you feel like it is time to move, then go with her, so I waited until the 3/8ths pole. I put her to work and she responded very well. I rode Ile. St. Molly her last two races and I knew when we hit the sixteenth pole, we had a good chance because I know she slows down a bit in the last sixteenth.”
Jockey Alex Cintron aboard second-place Ile St. Molly, who also ran second in the Go for Wand Stakes in her previous outing, was proud of her effort today.
“My filly really ran hard today,” said jockey Alex Cintron. “She tried until the end. She is a game filly, but she was just second best today.”
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