Making her first start since capturing the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap on April 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack, Blue Devil Racing Stable's Come Dancing relished the off going on Sunday at Belmont Park besting a field of five to win the Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian.
Sent off as the 1-5 mutuel favorite with Manny Franco aboard, Come Dancing broke a step slow but was quickly hustled to second-position stalking Frostie Anne, who set fractions of 23.76 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 46.97.
Making her winning move toward the leader at the three-eighths pole, Come Dancing comfortably secured the lead at the quarter-pole with Pacific Wind shifting off the rail in pursuit. Continuing to move away from the field at the top of the stretch, Come Dancing confidently darted away to secure the win by 6 ¾ lengths.
She completed the one-mile distance in a final time of 1:36.54 on the sloppy and sealed main track.
“She's a nice filly and she knows what's she doing,” said Franco. “She broke out of there a little slow but after the first three steps, she was right in there. Right away, she was taking me all the way. Man, she took me to the lead without asking.
“When she put her head in front, she put her ears up. When she felt the horse [Pacific Wind, No. 1] coming, she just exploded. I had a lot of horse under me. She's getting better. I think this is the best she's been, right now.”
Returning $2.60 for a $2 win wager, the 5-year-old Malibu Moon mare, bred by her owner, boosted her career earnings to $476,700 for conditioner Carlos Martin earning her second career graded stakes victory.
“She's some mare. She's come back so well,” said Martin. “[Owner] Marc [Holliday] was so patient. We thought after the Go for Wand [second on December 1], if we could bring her back as a 5-year-old and she was sound, she'd be a real good one to have in the barn. She just keeps getting better and better. She's more mature and professional. She has the high cruising speed, which is so dangerous. She can go to the lead or she can sit a little bit, so she makes her own luck in the races, which is important.”
Following Pacific Wind in second was Pink Sands, Sun Studio, and Frostie Anne.
Live racing resumes on Thursday with the launch of twilight racing at Belmont Park featuring a first post of 3:05 p.m. The nine-race card is highlighted by the re-scheduled $100,000 Flat Out, which is slated as Race 8 at 6:46 p.m.
Twilight racing will continue with each subsequent Thursday in May followed by twilight cards on June 6 – Day 1 of the 2019 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival – June 13, and June 27, featuring nine-race cards with a first post of 3:05 p.m
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.