Grade 1 heroine Come Dancing added yet another win to her already impressive resume when romping by 3 1/4 lengths in the $300,750 Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park on Sunday.
With Javier Castellano aboard, the Malibu Moon mare bided her time in third as Carrera Cat broke on top and led through the opening half-mile in :22.54 and :44.99. Minit to Stardom chased outside the pacesetter while Come Dancing loped along in the three path just off their flanks.
Nearing the turn, Come Dancing ranged up under her own power to draw even with the battling duo. Carried three wide on the bend, she continued her easy gallop to pull clear of Minit to Stardom in the stretch, stopping the clock in 1:14.96 on the wire for 6 1/2 furlongs over Belmont’s fast main track.
Come Dancing was sent off the 1-4 prohibitive favorite and returned $2.50 for the win. Minit to Stardom proved best of the rest, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Majestic Reason. It was another four lengths back to Carrera Cat while Jc’s Shooting Star completed the order of finish.
Campaigned by Marc Holliday’s Blue Devil Racing Stable, Come Dancing reached millionaire’s status with the Gallant Bloom triumph, having now accumulated $1,054,950 in lifetime earnings. She also boosted her mark to read 8-2-0 from 13 career starts.
She kicked off this season with dominating back-to-back scores in the Distaff Handicap (G3) and Ruffian Stakes (G2). Next came a runner-up effort behind Midnight Bisou in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) in June, and she entered this spot off an easy victory in the Ballerina Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
According to trainer Carlos Martin, Come Dancing will now likely train up to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park on November 2.
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Come Dancing is out of the Tiznow mare Tizahit, who captured the 2009 Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct. Her third dam is multiple Grade 3 heroine Jeano, who is also the granddam of champion and Breeders’ Cup winner Folklore.
GALLANT BLOOM QUOTES
Carlos Martin, trainer of Come Dancing
“I initially had said some things right after her last race that I just was going to wait until the Breeders’ Cup, but she was just doing so well. I did some research with the team and it was a perfect prep, timing-wise. The more I thought about it, the more I felt confident in running her today. Marc Holliday and the Blue Devil team have stuck with us through some tough times, and I’m glad to see her at her best as a 5-year-old.”
On targeting the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1)
“I was with my dad when he trained Groovy. Unfortunately, we got beat as the favorite in the 1987 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Those are some bittersweet memories in California. So hopefully we can make it right after all those years and get a Breeders’ Cup win for the family.”
Javier Castellano, jockey aboard Come Dancing
“I didn’t want to let her break and dictate the pace. It’s a six-horse field and two main horses (Carrera Cat, Minit to Stardom) were the speed. I wanted to let her break slowly and then pick it up little by little and get my spot.
“My goal today was just to take it easy and put everything together for the Breeders’ Cup. I think this race is going to bridge the gap to the Breeders’ Cup. I didn’t want to squeeze the lemon. I wanted to win nice and easy, but I don’t want to overdo it.”