06/13/2013 2:23PM

Belmont Park: Dance to Bristol comes up to graded company in Bed o’ Roses


ELMONT, N.Y. – Coming off dominant wins at Charles Town and Pimlico, Dance to Bristol comes to New York for her first attempt at a graded stakes victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Bed o’ Roses Handicap at Belmont Park.

Dance to Bristol will take on just four opponents in the seven-furlong Bed o’ Roses, as one filly that was entered, Munnings Sister, will scratch after running in Thursday’s Smart and Fancy Stakes at Belmont.

Dance to Bristol has 7 wins and 7 seconds in 15 career starts. Coincidentally, her only out-of-the-money finish came when she was fourth in the Ruthless Stakes at Aqueduct in January 2012, her most recent visit to this circuit.

Dance to Bristol has won four consecutive races, including a dominating nine-length score in the Sugar Maple Stakes at Charles Town on April 20 followed by a 4 3/4-length victory in the Skipat Stakes at Pimlico on May 17.

“She’s doing real good. She came out of her last race great,” said Ollie Figgins III, who trains Dance to Bristol for Susan Wantz. “She’s had two good breezes up to this race. I’m looking forward to her running well.”

Figgins believes Dance to Bristol is “bigger, strong, and just more mature” this year as compared with when she was 3, when she won just once in five starts. Dance to Bristol will break from post 3 under Xavier Perez.

Willet, a New York-bred daughter of Jump Start, makes her 5-year-old debut after having not run since losing by a neck in the Grade 2 Go for Wand on Nov. 23.

Before that, Willet won the Iroquois Stakes going seven furlongs here on Oct. 20. Jimmy Iselin, the trainer and part-owner of Willet, said there was nothing specifically wrong with Willet, but that he just wanted to have a fresh horse for the bigger races this summer and fall.

“She’s lightly raced by design,” Iselin said. “We really want to point for this time of year, for this kind of racing, and give her the opportunity to see how good she really might be.”

Iselin said Willet stayed with him all winter at Aqueduct and he believes the mare is fit enough to perform well on Saturday.

“I wouldn’t run her if I didn’t think she was fit,” he said. “To say she could win first time out, that would be a little bit of a stretch. She’s ready to run, but we’re talking Grade 3 company.”

Fantasy of Flight was beaten a half-length by Glorious View in the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs. Two of her three career victories have come at seven furlongs, including a third-level allowance win here last Oct. 18.

Delightful Quality, a front-running winner of a second-level allowance race here on May 24, and Withgreatpleasure, upset winner of the Grade 2 Ruffian going a mile at Aqueduct, complete the field.

With only five runners, the Bed o’ Roses was carded for race 3 on Saturday’s 10-race program.