Blue Devil Racing Stable's homebred Come Dancing did just that in Saturday's Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes, despite missing the break and going wide throughout the seven-furlong contest. The 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon still managed to dominate her rivals by 3 1/2 lengths, stopping the clock in 1:21.48 over Saratoga's fast main track. Trained by Carlos Martin and ridden by Javier Castellano, the 3-5 favorite Come Dancing has now earned an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
“When I saw her just sit out there in third, I said, 'She's so comfortable,'” Martin said. “When she gets into that comfortable rhythm, it means she has a lot left coming back. She trained so brilliantly the whole time here. Sitting around the turn, I felt pretty comfortable.”
Normally a speedy mare out of the gate, Come Dancing missed the break in the Ballerina and was last of the five-horse field in the early going. Castellano immediately wheeled her to the center of the course, widest of all, and allowed the mare to dictate when she would move up to challenge the front-running Separationofpowers.
After a first quarter in :23.31, Come Dancing ranged up into a three-wide third alongside Grade 1 winners Mia Mischief and Separationofpowers. That trio marked the half in 45.86 seconds, after which Come Dancing kicked into gear and easily distanced her rivals.
Come Dancing was 3 1/2 lengths the best at the wire, with Dawn the Destroyer and Special Relativity filling out the trifecta. Separationofpowers finished fourth.
“On paper, she looked like the horse to be in the lead, but in my heart I felt she didn't have to be on the lead today,” said Castellano. “She didn't break sharp out of the gate. I took my time to move up and control the race. She's a wonderful filly and she's so kind. You can do whatever you want with her. In the stretch, she proved she was much the best the way she did it.”
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Come Dancing is out of the Grade 2-winning Tiznow mare Tizahit. She broke her maiden at first asking, but then required 13 months away from the races before returning and immediately winning her second start. She won her first graded stakes this April, and now owns three wins and a second from four starts this season. Overall, Come Dancing boasts seven wins from 12 starts for earnings of nearly $900,000.
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