Dance Card lived up to her billing and won the first Grade 1 race of
her young career, scoring gate-to-wire in the 117th running of the
$350,000 Gazelle for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct Racetrack.
A gray daughter of Tapit owned by Godolphin Racing, Dance Card
ran the final Grade 1 race of the year in New York in a time of 1:50.39
for 1 1/8 miles and paid $5.30 for a $2 win bet as the 8-5 favorite in a
field of seven.
The victory capped a brilliant 36th birthday for jockey Ramon
Dominguez, who also won the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap, the Grade 2
Remsen, and two other races on the rich Heineken Holidayfest card at the
Big A. It was the second year in a row Dominguez won five races on his
“It seems like every day is your birthday,” quipped Richard Migliore
in his post-Gazelle interview with Dominguez, the runaway leading
rider at Aqueduct, on the MSG+ telecast.
Dominguez rode Dance Card with great confidence in the Gazelle,
relaxing his mount under a moderate hold despite outside pressure from
My Wandy’s Girl through a quarter mile in 23.92 seconds and a half in
My Wandy’s Girl, a star in Puerto Rico who had won 14 of 18 lifetime
starts going into the Gazelle, edged closer with a half-mile to go
while second choice Book Review attempted to reach contention on the
Neither stood a chance, however, as Dance Card effortlessly shook
clear, pushing off to a four-length win while making her way out toward
the grandstand side of the track. Late-running 22-1 long shot Sea
Island edged My Wandy’s Girl by a neck at the wire for second.
My Wandy’s Girl was followed by Lady Cohiba, Book Review, Jemima’s Pearl and Wildcat’s Smile.
“It’s not ideal [drifting out in the lane], but as long as they
cross the wire first …,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who was mired
in a 1-for-51 slump before the victory. “If that’s what it takes, we’ll
In the winner’s circle, Dominguez gushed about Dance Card’s quality to the winning connections.
“When she drifted out in the stretch, she was just looking around,”
he said. “I’m not worried about it or complaining about it. She’s a
beautiful animal with high cruising speed, and she can pick it up
whenever you ask her. She was perfect through the whole race, and down
the lane she wanted to drift out some, but she keeps running. She’s
special, and I love her.”
The victory was the fourth in the five-race career of Dance Card,
who will now head to Florida for the winter with McLaughlin. She has
now earned $372,200.