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Breeders' Cup 2017

Dance to Bristol Chases Fifth Straight Win in Bed o' Roses

Belmont Park
Dance to Bristol, winner of four straight, will attempt to land her first graded stakes when she competes in Belmont Park’s Grade 3, $150,000 Bed o’ Roses Handicap for fillies and mares on Saturday.


The seven-furlong Bed o’ Roses is one of two graded stakes on Saturday’s card, the other being the Grade 3, $150,000 Hill Prince for 3-year-olds on the turf.


Dance to Bristol won a stakes race in both 2011 and 2012 before doubling her stakes tally in her two most recent starts by taking the Sugar Maple by nine lengths on April 20 at Charles Town and the Skipat by 4 ¾ lengths on May 17 at Pimlico.


In the Skipat, Dance to Bristol, a 4-year-old, tracked the pace while racing on the outside in third, took over in midstretch, and drifted inward under right-handed urging before straightening and going on to an open-length triumph.


Her winning streak also includes a pair of optional claiming scores in February and March at Laurel Park. The Bed o’ Roses will be her first start in New York since she was fourth in the Ruthless in January 2012 at Aqueduct Racetrack.


“She deserves a shot, and I’m looking for a good, solid race from her,” said trainer Ollie Figgins, III, who, like Dance to Bristol, is seeking his first graded stakes score. “She’s a little older now and more mature, and now she does a better job of running in hand and relaxing in the bridle. She’s an easy horse to rate, so if you don’t get away all that great you don’t have to rush her up. It’d be great [to win the Bed o’ Roses] because I don’t get a lot of opportunities to train horses like her.”


Dance to Bristol drew post position 3, was tabbed as the 5-2 morning-line second choice, and was assigned 118 pounds for the Bed o’ Roses. Xavier Perez will ride.


The Bed o’ Roses will be the first start of 2013 for Willet, who won over the Bed o’ Roses’ course and distance when she defeated New York-breds by 9 ¼ lengths in the Iroquois in October. In her 2012 finale, she was second to Nefertini in Aqueduct’s Grade 2 Go for Wand Handicap in November.


Trainer Jimmy Iselin said Willet, a 5-year-old who returned to the worktab in May, will be ready to run off the bench on Saturday.


“Willet is a magnificent horse,” said Iselin, who owns the daughter of Jump Start in partnership with Charlotte Assoulin and El Gindi. “She’s coming back after having not raced since November 23, almost a seven-month layoff. I hope our patience pays off. The layoff was by design because you can’t, in my opinion, run at a high level all year. My partners are patient and I’m patient, so we wanted to bring her back after giving her the winter off. The others are horses who have been running recently, but we’re bringing over a mare who is sound and fit. We’re looking forward to running on Saturday.”


Rajiv Maragh has the return call aboard Willet, who will tote 116 pounds from post 6 at 5-1 on the morning line.


The Bed o’ Roses attracted the second- and third-place finishers of the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap, Fantasy of Flight and Withgreatpleasure.


Fantasy of Flight seeks a breakthrough win, having finished second in three of her last four starts, including the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie in February at Gulfstream Park. Eighth in the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland in April, Fantasy of Flight loomed in the stretch of the Vagrancy on May 18 at Belmont but could not get by Glorious View and finished second by a half-length.


Trained by Michelle Nevin for Sanford H. Robbins, Fantasy of Flight was installed as the morning line’s 5-2 favorite. The 5-year-old will carry 116 pounds, including Cornelio Velasquez, from post 2.


Withgreatpleasure is the lone graded stakes winner in the field, having taken the Grade 2 Ruffian Handicap by three-quarters of a length in April at Aqueduct. In the Vagrancy, she picked up the pieces from off the pace to finish third, beaten 2 ½ lengths.


Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride Withgreatpleasure, 5-1 and weighted at 116 pounds, from post 4.


The entries also include Munnings Sister, who captured the restricted Gold Princess overnight stakes on April 28, and Delightful Quality, who won an optional claimer on May 24.




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6 Willett, 2 Fantasy Of Flight, 4 Withgreatpleasure.

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