Dancing Rags captures Alcibiades

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Jen Caldwell

October 7th, 2016

Chadds Ford Stable’s Dancing Rags proved best by a length in Friday’s $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes (G1) on Keeneland’s opening day card of the fall meet.

With jockey Angel Cruz aboard, the Graham Motion trainee was sent off at 12-1 but ran like a favorite to score in the 1 1/16-mile fast-track contest.

Dancing Rags settled into a stalking spot about three wide in the crowded 14-filly field as Caroline Test set the pace through splits of :23.72, :47.43 and 1:11.82. The bay daughter of Union Rags maintained that spot rounding the turn into the stretch, then rallied to take over in the lane.

Dancing Rags had a whole slew of rivals chasing her home, including 9-2 second choice Daddy’s Lil Darling who came from the rear of the pack. The Maryland-bred miss held them all to stop the clock in 1:44.69 and return $26.60 for the win.

Daddys Lil Darling, winner of the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on September 17, proved best of the rest, two lengths up on Fun in third. Caroline Test filled out the fourth spot and was followed under the wire by Dream Dancing, For Honor, Benner Island, Queen Bernardina, I’mluckysgirl, 7-2 favorite Diadura, Sully’s Dream, Price Too High, Cold Hearted Pearl and Lady Hansen.

Dancing Rags is now two-for-two on dirt and 3-2-0-1, $275,360, overall for her career. The filly finished third in her August 5 debut while racing on Laurel Park’s turf, then returned September 17 over that track’s dirt to break her maiden by 1 3/4 lengths.

Out of the Grade 3-placed Storm Cat mare Home Court, Dancing Rags counts as a half-brother Grade 2 hero Coup de Grace. Her second dam is 1996 champion older mare Jewel Princess.

Dancing Rags photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography


Graham Motion, trainer Dancing Rags, winner

On why he ran Dancing Rags in the Darley Alcibiades

“I felt it was an open race. She just seemed to have done really well since her maiden win at Laurel (on September 17) and progressively kept improving. This is the time of year when you’ve got to take a shot.”

On whether she will compete in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on November 5 at Santa Anita Park

“We’ll talk to (owner) Mrs. (Phyllis) Wyeth, but we’ve got to think about it.”

Angel Cruz, jockey Dancing Rags, winner

“I had a great trip. 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.)”

Kenny McPeek, trainer of Daddys Lil Darling, second

“We had the best horse today. Rough post position, and she was hung wide and wider both turns. She’s really special and we’ll go on to the next phase (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies).”

Corey Lanerie, jockey Daddys Lil Darling, second

“We had the 14 hole, and in the first turn we were a little wide. Then something happened down inside, they came out and bumped me out even a little wider.

“Coming up the backside, I got comfortable. I wanted to save some ground, but I had so much horse and her stride is so big, I didn’t want to get stopped. So I tipped her out and thought I had enough to get the job done. The wire came up just a little too soon."

Brian J. Hernandez Jr., jockey Fun, third

“We had the 1 hole; we had a great trip the entire way. My filly (Fun) ran good to be third. Any time you get a two-year-old filly like that who’s graded placed in a Grade 1, that’s huge. She ran big today."

Jose Ortiz, jockey Caroline Test, fourth

“She broke very alert. I stuck with the game plan to be on the lead and give her a breather on the backside. I have no excuse; she ran a good race.”

On setting the early pace

“This is a Grade 1. You are not going to go (a half-mile) in :50. She is very fast and she is coming off a sprint race. She broke sharply, so I tried to settle her down as much as I could.”