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Breeders' Cup 2017

Love That Dance Packs 125 in Spruce Fir

John Petrini’s Love That Dance will accept a hefty challenge here Sunday when she totes highweight of 125 pounds in the $65,000 Spruce Fir Handicap for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares at one mile and 70 yards.

 

“Has any Jersey-bred won with 125 pounds in recent years?” trainer Ben Perkins Jr. asked of no one in particular while looking over the Spruce Fir past performances.

 

“That’s a lot for a filly to carry going long,” Perkins said, “but what are you going to do. She earned it.”

 

Love That Dance, a homebred 5-year-old daughter of Not For Love – Broad Exchange, by Broad Brush, has gained her reputation over the past three seasons in sprint races, where her nine wins in 23 starts have included seven stakes in Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey.

 

But in three lifetime starts at two turns, she has run second twice – the last two runnings of the Spruce Fir. She finished less than a length behind Way With Words under 120 pounds in 2009, and last year was beaten nearly three lengths by Moneigh Lisa while toting 118.

 

“She’s been training really well,” Perkins said, “and she’s sharp right now. The weight is a challenge, but she’ll deal with it.”


This will be the heaviest package the mare has ever carried. She won the six-furlong Sweet n Sassy Stakes at Delaware last year carrying 124, and last out took the Open Mind Handicap here on June 18 under 123 pounds.

 

Love That Dance opened her 2011 campaign with a dull effort in the Red Cross Stakes here May 29, when she was wide most of the way and ran fifth.

 

“After having the winter off, it usually takes her one race to get going,” Perkins said.

 

The Open Mind was her second start of the year, and the mare was back in her old form,  battling for the lead from the start, and then drawing off at the end of six furlongs in 1:09 3/5.

 

She’ll have seven rivals in the Spruce Fir and breaks from Post 2 with Pablo Fragoso back aboard.

 

“There’s some speed in there,” Perkins said, “and I don’t think she’ll be on the lead. But if she breaks sharp, she’ll be close right from the start.”

 

 

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