Ballet Dancing relishes the distance and romps in Santa Ana

Ballet Dancing relishes the distance and romps in Santa Ana
Photo: Benoit Photo

In her first try at 1 1/4 miles on turf and ridden for the first time by Flavien Prat, trainer Simon Callaghan’s Ballet Dancing stalked long shot Annaghlasa to the quarter pole and took control to win Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Santa Ana at Santa Anita by 3 1/2 lengths, getting the distance in 2:01.25.

Breaking alertly from the far outside, Ballet Dancing was quickly into stride as Annaghlasa and Ramon Vazquez set about carving out realistic early fractions over a course listed as good of 24.01 seconds, 47.22 and 1:12.07. (The one-mile split, set by the winner, was 1:36.70).

Click here for Santa Anita entries and results.

With 3-2 favorite Australia Mia in deep water midway around the far turn, there were no dangers among the remaining six fillies and mares and Prat was able to put the Santa Ana away at the top of the lane.

“I watched some videos of her and talked to Simon,” said Prat, who rung up his second stakes win of the weekend and his eighth overall at the meet. “She (broke) well, got ourselves in the race and I was traveling really well all the way around. She responded really well when I asked her.”

When asked about the softer turf, Prat responded “The turf has a little cut to it, but I thought it was really good.”

A first-condition allowance winner going 1 1/8 miles on turf her two starts on Dec. 26, Ballet Dancing most recently was fourth as the favorite in a second-condition allowance at the same distance Feb. 3. Ballet Dancing was off Saturday at 9-2 in a field of seven older distaffers and paid $11.40, $5.60 and $3.80.

“This was certainly the distance we’ve been waiting for,” said Callaghan.  “…I think now as an older mare, she’s just going to flourish. And I think these longer distances, a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half, they are going to be right in her wheelhouse.

“That’s very much what the pedigree suggests and her (physical) frame. I think we should have a fun older year with her.”

A 4-year-old filly by Medaglia d’Oro out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Fully Living, Ballet Dancing was purchased for $800,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale. She is owned by Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.

Third in the Honeymoon (G3) versus 3-year-old fillies in her third career start, Ballet Dancing notched her first stakes win Saturday and improved her overall mark to 9: 3-1-2. With the $60,000 winner's share of the purse, she increased her earnings to $191,060.

Sixth, about 4 1/2 lengths off the lead at the half-mile pole, Queen Ofthe Temple rallied well for the place while not threatening the winner. Off at 5-1 with Juan Hernandez, she paid $5.60 and $3.40 while finishing a head better than Duvet Day.

An upset winner of the 1 1/2-mile turf Astra Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 21, Duvet Day lacked a similar closing kick at Saturday’s distance and finished a nose better than fellow Irish-bred Buzz of New York. Off at 5-1 with Kazushi Kimura, Duvet Day paid $3.60 to show.

The 3-2 favorite with Frankie Dettori, Australia Mia finished a distant last.

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