Ballerina winner Come Dancing likely to train up to Breeders' Cup

NYRA Press Office
August 25, 2019 03:51pm
Blue Devil Racing Stable's Come Dancing exited her impressive win in Saturday's Grade 1 Ballerina in good order and in a playful mood the day after earning trainer Carlos Martin his first Grade 1 win since 1991 and second overall.

"She came back great and looks super. She's been ready to go again. She was looking out all morning as if to say, 'where is the crowd today?'" Martin said with a laugh. "She's doing great."

Under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, Come Dancing, the 3-5 favorite in a field that was scratched down to five fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, overcame a bump at the start and was pinched back but took command in the stretch and drew away for a 3 ½-length score over Daw
n the Destroyer, earning a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

With Special Relativity making contact with Come Dancing at the start, the favorite was taken back and rallied from last to win her third graded stakes in the last four starts, building on a 7 ¾-length victory in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap in April at Aqueduct Racetrack and a 6 ¾-length win in the Grade 2 Ruffian.

Come Dancing ran a competitive second to Midnight Bisou in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 8 at Belmont before capturing the 41st running of the Ballerina at seven furlongs on a fast main track.

"With five horses, I thought we'd break and go. I knew we had a big target on our backs at 3-5, but in his mind, I think he [Castellano] wanted to get her off the pace," Martin said. "As funky as it looked coming out of the gate when the 1 [Special Relativity] came over on her, I think Javier was relieved that he didn't have to make that decision of going to the lead or taking her back. But she was on her game. She was ready."

Winning the Ballerina garnered Come Dancing an automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park. After nearly 2 ½ months off between the Ogden Phipps and her Travers Day appearance at the Spa, Martin said he will follow a similar pattern and not race again until the Grade 1, $1 million seven-furlong sprint on November 2 in California.

"Every time we give her a couple of months between races, she's ready," Martin said. "That's why we are talking to the owners yesterday evening. I said we have one goal: to make her a Breeders' Cup winner and an Eclipse champion. She runs great fresh. I'd like to do the same protocol we had from June 7 [the Ogden Phipps] to yesterday. I now have to November 2. 

"She could come back in three weeks and run in a race like the [Grade 2] Gallant Bloom [September 22 at Belmont]  and probably win again, but then you'd get to that third race. She gets a little light on me," he added. "She puts a lot into her gallops. So, she can be a little strong to deal with at times, so the freshening won't hurt her."

Come Dancing improved to 7-2-0 in 12 starts with four of those wins coming against stakes company. The 5-year-old Malibu Moon mare could be sent to Fair Hill in Maryland under the care of Bruce Jackson to rest and then campaign into the Breeders' Cup, Martin said.

"It's like heaven for horses, so I'm thinking of sending her there for a few weeks and getting her back and ready in the middle of September," he said. "I think it'll work out well."

The Ballerina was the 12th career graded stakes win for Martin and first at Saratoga. Martin saddled his first winner in 1989. Born into a family of training legends, including his grandfather and Hall of Famer Frank "Pancho" Martin, who conditioned Sham among others, and his late father Jose Martin, who trained five-time stakes winner Noble Nashua.

Carlos Martin won his first Grade 1 Buy the Firm in the 1991 Top Flight and now has another one 28 years later.

"It's been a long time between drinks. It's incredible," Martin said. "I've been coming here for many, many years since I was a kid, so to win a Grade 1 on Travers Day, that's what it's all about."

Empire State Thoroughbreds' Bon Raison came out of his fifth-place finish in the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor in good order, with Martin saying no definitive future plans are set for the 4-year-old son of Raison d'Etat.

Bon Raison made his 14th start of the year and his fifth since July, bidding for his first on-the-board finish in five attempts against graded stakes caliber before tiring late. He was coming off a win and a 100 Beyer in the Tale of the Cat on August 9 at Saratoga.


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