08/16/2017 2:00PM

Belvoir keeping options open for Gold Rush Dancer

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Reed & Erin Palmer Photography/Emerald Downs
Trainer Vann Belvoir has not yet decided where decisive Longacres Mile winner Gold Rush Dancer will start next.

Gold Rush Dancer earned a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure for his blowout win in the Longacres Mile Handicap at Emerald Downs Sunday.

With Evin Roman aboard, the 4-year-old son of Private Gold took control of the race going down the backstretch, and the only question was how far he was going to win by when he hit the six-furlong mark four lengths in front. The final margin was 4 3/4 lengths.

Trainer Vann Belvoir, who won the Mile as a jockey when it was held at Yakima Meadows in 1995, wasn’t sure where Gold Rush Dancer would make his next start.

“He’s super,” said Belvoir Tuesday. “They can fool you, though. He ran hard and was all-out, so we’re going to bring him home and monitor him. For now we are keeping our options open.”

Home is Southern California, where last year Gold Rush Dancer won a pair of California-bred stakes at Santa Anita (turf) and Del Mar (dirt). He also won a statebred turf stakes at Golden Gate Fields.

Belvoir has plenty of options with the versatile Gold Rush Dancer. In addition to his turf and dirt wins, he’s run okay on Tapeta at Golden Gate, finishing third and fifth in stakes over that surface as a 2-year-old.

Belvoir mentioned the Grade 3, $100,000 Premiers Stakes at Hastings on Oct. 9 as a possibility for Gold Rush Dancer. Gold Rush Dancer is eligible for a $50,000 bonus for the horse that sweeps the Longacres Mile and the 1 3/8-mile Premiers.

“I don’t know if he’s a mile and three-eighths horse, but we’re certainly going to look at it,” said Belvoir. “We would like to get him up to a million dollars in earnings, and the good thing is he can run on anything.”

Sound familiar? The Cal-bred millionaire Alert Bay has won on turf, dirt and Tapeta, and his first graded win came in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby at Hastings in 2014.

Citizen Kitty also received a career-best Beyer Speed Figure, 85, for her 1 1/2-length win over Little Dancer in the $65,000 Emerald Distaff on Sunday.

She has improved dramatically in her last two starts. Prior to her win in the one-mile Boeing Stakes on July 16, the 5-year-old Washington-bred had never won going a middle distance.

Trainer Jeff Metz gave a lot of credit for her improvement to Julien Couton, who was aboard for both wins.

“Julien has really helped in getting her to relax,” said Metz.

Metz was planning to talk to Citizen Kitty’s owners, Bruce and Cass Maller, on Tuesday afternoon regarding where she would run next.

“She came out of the race in good shape and we’re looking at getting her a Grade 3 placing,” said Metz.

Trainer Doris Harwood does know where Little Dancer will make her next start – the $100,000 British Columbia Oaks at Hastings Sept. 9. The Washington Oaks winner, she ran a huge race while facing older fillies and mares for the first time in the Distaff. She is eligible for a $25,000 bonus for the horse that sweeps the Washington Oaks and the British Columbia Oaks at Hastings.

“She’s going to Hastings,” said Harwood. “I like it up there and the track surface is similar to Emerald.”

Harwood won the 2009 B.C. Derby with Winning Machine.