Front running turf specialist Bobby’s Kitten was the talk of
the town heading into the G1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. Sent to post as the as both the morning line and bettors’
choice off a wire-to-wire allowance victory at Tampa Bay Downs, most believed
the son of Kitten’s Joy would transfer his form from turf to synthetics.
Instead, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf third place finisher was wrangled into
submission and out of contention, and California shipper Dance With Fate
punched his ticket to the Kentucky Derby
with an impressive stretch run.
Perfect at Keeneland heading into this race, Pablo Del Monte bounced out of the gate
quickly and established the lead. Coastline and Bobby’s Kitten took up
positions right behind him, trading the second and third running positions
during the early going, with Extrasexyhippzster right there with them. With no
real pressure, Pablo Del Monte clicked off splits of 23:58/47:59/1.12:74.
Turning for home, Pablo Del Monte looked a winner, but he wouldn’t stay in
front for long.
Meanwhile, Dance With Fate took up a running position near the back of the field in 10th.
Despite being 10th of fourteen, the Two Step Salsa colt was never
far out of it, being only 6 ¾ lengths off the lead at worst. Wheeling out of
the far turn, jockey Corey Nakatani said “go,” and away he went! Making an
impressive sweeping move, Dance With Fate engulfed both Pablo Del Monte and
Medal Count, who had gotten a jump start on the winner, in the stretch and
pulled clear to win by 1 ¾ lengths in a final time of 1.50:06.
Medal Count, who
had won the off-turf G3 Transylvania just 8 days ago, was beaten by both the
quick turnaround and the outside post. He finished well, however, to cross the
wire second, 1 ¾ lengths in front of pacesetter Pablo Del Monte. Longshot Big
Bazinga ran another good race to complete the superfecta as a 35-1 outsider. The
order of finish was completed by Coltimus Prime, Gala Award, So Lonesome,
Asserting Bear, Casiguapo, Coastline, Extrasexyhippzster, Bobby’s Kitten, Harry’s
Holiday, and Vinceremos.
Sent off at 6-1, winner Dance With Fate paid
$14.80/$6.80/$5.80 for the win. Runner-up Medal Count returned $7.80/$5.20 off
odds of 6.6-1, and Pablo Del Monte paid $6.80 off odds of 10-1. The $2 exacta
was worth $127.60, the $2 trifecta paid $1,448.80, and the $0.10 superfecta
As a Road to the 2014 Kentucky Derby event, the Blue Grass Stakes
was worth 100 points to winner Dance With Fate; runner-up Medal Count received
40 points, Pablo Del Monte received 20 points, and Big Bazinga received 10
points. Dance With Fate moved up to near the top of the Kentucky Derby
leaderboard with 108 total points. Medal Count, who previously had 0 points,
moved into the Top 20.
Despite having secured a spot in the starting gate at
Churchill Downs, trainer Peter Eurton isn’t sure whether or not he’ll send his
newly minted grade 1 winner to compete for the roses. “I just don’t know. It’s
three weeks and kind of quick back. I know he loves synthetic better, (likes)
turf. I just don’t know if he likes dirt. I know I’m going to hear it from
everybody, though,” he said.
Winning jockey Corey Nakatani said after the race, “They
were actually going a little slower than I anticipated, but being on the
Polytrack you don’t know what’s going to happen. In talking to Peter (Eurton)
about the race before, he said, ‘If you can, get him to switch off and just
have a target for him to run at, save a little and just make your best run when
it counts,’ and I said, ‘Ok, let’s do it.’”
In regards to whether or not Dance With Fate can get the 1 ¼
distance of the Kentucky Derby, Nakatani confidently stated, “I don’t have any
doubt he can do that. It’s just a matter of whether he’ll handle the Churchill
Downs surface at this point.”
By Two Step Salsa and out of the Saint Ballado mare Flirting
With Fate, Dance With Fate brought $120,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales
Company 2013 Spring Sale of Two-Year Olds in Training. He was bred by Best A
Luck Farm LLC, and Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing LLC were
the lucky buyers. He improved his overall record to 8: 3-3-0. Today’s victory
was the colt’s first stakes win, but his résumé includes runner-up efforts in
the G1 Del Mar Futurity, G1 Frontrunner, and G3 El Camino Real Derby.