06/15/2013 2:52PM

Belmont Park: Dance to Bristol shows she belongs with Bed o' Roses win

Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Dance to Bristol, ridden by Xavier Perez, makes it five in a row with this victory in the Bed o' Roses.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Dance to Bristol more than passed her audition.

Returning to New York for the first time in 17 months, Dance to Bristol rolled to a 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Bed o’ Roses Handicap at Belmont Park.

Fantasy of Flight, who set the pace, held second by one length over Delightful Quality. Withgreatpleasure finished fourth followed by Willet. Munnings Sister, who won the Smart and Fancy Stakes here on Thursday, scratched.

It was the fifth consecutive win and eighth victory from 16 career starts for Dance to Bristol, a 4-year-old daughter of Speightstown who was making her graded stakes debut. The only time she finished worse than second was when she finished fourth in the Ruthless Stakes at Aqueduct in January 2012.

“I thought she was good enough going into this race,” said trainer Ollie Figgins III, a Maryland-based trainer who won his first graded stakes. “This is the major leagues. This is the best racing in the country.”

Breaking from post 3 under Xavier Perez, Dance to Bristol raced in third position while Fantasy of Flight, under Cornelio Velasquez, set fractions of 23.01 seconds for the quarter and 45.80 for the half-mile while being chased by Delightful Quality, under Javier Castellano.

Dance to Bristol edged closer coming to the quarter pole, and when turned loose by Perez turning for home she made the lead outside the eighth pole and widened her advantage in the final sixteenth.

Dance to Bristol, owned by Susan Wantz, covered the seven furlongs in 1:20.81 - the fastest of eight Bed o’ Roses run at the distance and just .64 seconds off the track record set by Left Bank in 2002. She returned $5.30 to win as the 8-5 favorite.

“We’re very happy with the way she ran,” Figgins said. “Xavier said the same thing he said in the last couple of races - she broke well, he just decided to let her get comfortable and settle of the speed, and when he asked her to accelerate she did.”

Dance to Bristol has now won five stakes, including the Pandera, an overnight stakes at Aqueduct on Dec. 7, 2011.

It was the first graded stakes victory for Perez, who is now 5 for 5 on Dance to Bristol.

“Approaching the quarter pole, I just shook my reins at her a little bit and she just took off running,” he said. “Down from the quarter pole to the wire was just an easy jog for her.”

Figgins said he may point Dance to Bristol to the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga on Aug. 23.