04/11/2015 4:46PM

Ball Dancing impresses in Jenny Wiley Stakes

Coady Photography
Ball Dancing, ridden by Javier Castellano, wins the Jenny Wiley Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths Saturday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Chad Brown is believed by many to train the top turf mare in North America in Stephanie’s Kitten, and after a widening 2 1/2-length victory from his charge Ball Dancing in Saturday’s Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland, a case could be made that he now trains the top two.

Ball Dancing, who began her career in France and has excelled since coming to the U.S last fall, made short work of her five rivals in the stretch of the $300,00 Jenny Wiley – though there were brief moments of drama for her backers. She was steadied in traffic entering the first turn when squeezed between the front-running Eden Prairie and Hard Not to Like, and then on the far turn, she looked in danger of being passed by a wide-rallying Filimbi.

There were no worries late. She surged to take command coming into the stretch and steadily drew clear over runner-up Filimbi and third-place Hard Not to Like.

“She’s kind of a European horse – you need to cover up a little bit and save something for the end,” said jockey Javier Castellano. “It really worked out beautiful.”

A 4-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate owned by Will Farish and F. Steve Mooney, Ball Dancing raced 1 1/16 miles on what Equibase deemed a “good” turf course in 1:43.08. She paid $5.40 as the favorite.

She improved her record to two wins and two seconds in four starts in the U.S. Her two runner-up finishes came in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup last fall at Keeneland behind Crown Queen and to stablemate Stephanie’s Kitten in the Grade 3 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs, the March 7 race that kicked off her 2015 campaign.

“They are very even,” said Brown of his two grass mares. “Last time, Stephanie had a little better trip than this filly, and this filly came out of the race so much the better for it – much fitter, sharper.”

Brown said he isn’t in a hurry to run the pair against one another in the near future, saying, “Maybe down the road.” That time could come in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Keeneland in October. Last year, Brown ran one-two in the race with Dayatthespa and Stephanie’s Kitten.