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Belmont: Dance Card may try sprinting in Gallant Bloom
ELMONT, N.Y. – Though she was a Grade 1 winner around two turns at age 3, Dance Card could have a different agenda as she prepares for a limited 4-year-old campaign.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Friday that he is “looking at pretty strongly” bringing Dance Card back to the races in the Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont Park on Sept. 21. A good showing in that race could lead to a start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.
“It’s just because of where she is and maybe the competition,” McLaughlin said at Belmont Park. “If we wait for the Beldame, Royal Delta might be there.”
The Beldame, run at 1 1/8 miles at Belmont on Sept. 28, is a stepping-stone to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Dance Card, a daughter of Tapit, has won 4 of 5 career starts, her lone loss coming to Book Review in a seven-furlong maiden race in Dance Card’s career debut at Belmont on May 20, 2012. She then reeled off four straight victories, capped by a four-length victory in the Gazelle, then a Grade 1 run at 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct on Thanksgiving weekend last November. This year’s Gazelle, now a Grade 2, was run in April at Aqueduct.
Dance Card was in training at Palm Meadows during the winter but sustained a chip in an ankle that needed to be surgically removed. She returned to McLaughlin during the summer at Saratoga and on Friday, she breezed five furlongs in 59.77 seconds over Saratoga’s main track. Dance Card has been breezing regularly over the synthetic surface at Greentree since mid-August.
“She’s training great; very talented filly,” McLaughlin said.
Neal McLaughlin, Kiaran’s brother and assistant trainer, oversaw Friday’s workout and called it “really impressive. We’re very happy with the way she’s come back.”
The McLaughlins hope Dance Card returns as impressively as Asiya did from ankle chip surgery. On Aug. 14, Asiya won a first-level allowance race at Saratoga by 8 1/4 lengths going 6 1/2 furlongs. That was her first start since finishing third to Princess of Sylmar in the Busanda in February.
While Princess of Sylmar is likely to run next in the Beldame at Belmont Park on Sept. 28, Asiya looks headed for the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion at Parx Racing on Sept. 21.
On Friday, at Belmont, Asiya worked four furlongs in 48.28 in company with Go Appeal.
Last year, McLaughlin sent Alabama winner Questing to the Cotillion, where she got beat by My Miss Aurelia, who was coming off one 6 1/2-furlong race at Saratoga. The Cotillion is run at 1 1/16 miles, a distance that McLaughlin feels fits Asiya.
“We feel like she wants that,” McLaughlin said. “She’s had a race under her belt.”
McLaughlin said he also is considering Carnival Court, third in the Alabama, for the Cotillion. Carnival Court, a half-sister to Royal Delta, worked four furlongs in 49.93 Friday over Saratoga’s main track.
Transparent, last in the Travers, is a candidate for the Pennsylvania Derby, McLaughlin said. Transparent worked four furlongs in 48.75 over Saratoga’s main track Friday.
Brown could run two in Joe Hirsch
Big Blue Kitten, winner of the Sword Dancer Invitational, and Real Solution, winner of the Arlington Million, could run against each other in the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational here Sept. 28, trainer Chad Brown said Friday.
While acknowledging it’s not the ideal scenario, Brown said that the timing of those races fits both horses the best and that by keeping them in New York it avoids a ship between now and the Breeders’ Cup.
“Those two horses I really want to run on that weekend. That’s the spacing I’m looking for,” Brown said. “They got the race in California, the John Henry. It’s not a big purse and I’d have to leave one of them out there. I’m not sure I want to do that.”
Brown has decisions to make on several of his stakes-caliber horses, including Last Gunfighter and Easter Gift.
Brown mentioned the Awesome Again at Santa Anita and the Kelso at Belmont – both on Sept. 28 – as races he is considering for both horses. Brown is not necessarily viewing either one for the Breeders’ Cup. Easter Gift, who won the Mountainview Handicap at Penn National in June, worked four furlongs in 48.71 on Friday at Belmont.
Last Gunfighter has won 7 of 12 starts, including the Grade 3 Pimlico Special in May and the Grade 3 Iselin at Monmouth last out.
Readtheprospectus, a winner of six consecutive races for Brown, is nearing his return to the races after being hampered by quarter cracks. On Friday, he worked four furlongs in 48.65 in company with Street Secret. Brown is targeting the Empire Classic on Oct. 19 for Readtheprospectus with a possible start beforehand.
Unlimited Budget done for 2013
Unlimited Budget, the multiple graded stakes-winning 3-year-old filly who finished sixth in the Belmont Stakes, will not run again this year, owner Mike Repole confirmed.
Repole, in a text message, said that Unlimited Budget is getting a vacation in Ocala, Fla., and would be pointed to a 4-year-old campaign.
Unlimited Budget, trained by Todd Pletcher, won the Rachel Alexandra and Fair Grounds Oaks to begin her 3-year-old season. She finished third in the Kentucky Oaks, sixth in the Belmont, and last of five in the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 20.
Following the CCA Oaks, Pletcher sent Unlimited Budget out to an upstate New York farm for a couple of weeks before bringing her back to Saratoga. Pletcher didn’t feel Unlimited Budget could make the Cotillion at Parx on Sept. 21 and without any other major races for 3-year-old fillies to target, the decision was made to stop on her.
Good Idea on Unlimited Budget would have been hard pressed to win an Allowance race in current form. On the other hand Dance Card is a superstar the skys the limit. I have known she was special since debut and looks Great. Other than avoiding the Queen can have a good campaign especially with McLaughlin calling the shots