Phyllis Wyeth's Dancing Rags skipped home the one-length winner of Friday's G1 Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland, becoming the second Grade 1 winner for her sire Union Rags. The juvenile filly covered 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:44.69 for trainer Graham Motion, and earned a berth to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies next month at Santa Anita. This was the first G1 win for jockey Angel Cruz.
“I felt it was an open race,” Motion said. “She just seemed to have done really well since her maiden win at Laurel (on Sept. 17) and progressively kept improving. This is the time of year when you've got to take a shot.”
Caroline Test was quick out of the gates to take command, followed by longshot Cold Hearted Pearl and Dancing Rags. Cruz did not let Dancing Rags get trapped along the rail, keeping her wider out on the track than the leader while still allowing her to relax in third position through fractions of :23.72 and :47.43. Rounding into the turn, Dancing Rags began to move toward the leading Caroline Test, cutting into the latter's one-length advantage.
At the head of the lane, both Dancing Rags and Caroline Test were gamely fighting for the lead, but it was the grinding style of Dancing Rags that would prevail as she was kept to task toward the wire. Daddys Lil Darling made a strong late bid up the center of the track, but could only reduce Dancing Rags' winning margin to a length at the finish. Daddys Lil Darling was second, with Fun closing late for third and Caroline Test fading to fourth.
“I had a great trip,” Cruz beamed after the race. “I was in a good position, and the horse did her job. I cruised home to victory. I had plenty of horse the whole time. She gave me it all. Graham Motion had her ready, and thank you to the owner (Wyeth's Chadds Ford Stable) for this grand opportunity. My first Grade 1 (victory and first mount at Keeneland.)”
Bred in Maryland by David DiPietro, the filly commanded $80,000 at the Keeneland September Sale, and was sold again to Wyeth's Chadds Ford Stable at the Ocala Breeders' March sale of 2-year-olds in training for $210,000. Third in her first start at Laurel, Dancing Rags improved to win in her second out at the Maryland track, convincing Motion to give her a shot in this spot. Overall, the filly's record stands at two wins from three starts, with earnings of nearly $275,000.
Watch the race replay here:
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