10/07/2016 5:36PM

Dancing Rags pulls 12-1 surprise in Alcibiades

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Dancing Rags, ridden by Angel Cruz, scores by a length in the Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies.

LEXINGTON, KY – Friday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Alcibiades at Keeneland on opening day went to an inexperienced filly when maiden winner Dancing Rags pulled off a 12-1 upset under Maryland-based jockey Angel Cruz, who won his first graded stakes.

Although Dancing Rags was short on experience, entering the stakes with just two career starts, it never showed in her performance. Dancing Rags broke alertly and Cruz placed her in a favorable position in third early in the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades, stalking front-runners Caroline Test and Cold Hearted Pearl after a half-mile in 47.43 seconds. She then advanced to second late on the backstretch and into the second turn, after three-quarters in 1:11.82, and powered away at the top of the stretch before lasting for a length victory over late-running Daddys Lil Darling.

The winner, a 2-year-old daughter of 2012 Belmont winner Union Rags, earned a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies by taking the Alcibiades, a Win and You’re In qualifier. She raced 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.69, paying $26.60.

Winning trainer Graham Motion, who trains Dancing Rags for Phyllis Wyeth’s Chadds Ford Stable, quipped that Cruz had a tougher trip getting to Keeneland than the filly did in the Alcibiades. “He drove here,” he said with a laugh.

Daddys Lil Darling, stuck breaking from post 14, ran well in defeat, finishing strongest through the lane after being 12th down the backstretch, though she never threatened the winner. She also appears likely for the Breeders’ Cup, having won the Pocahontas at Churchill Downs – another Win and You’re In prep.

There was a gap of two lengths back to third-place finisher Fun, who finished evenly after having minor traffic problems when trying to rally up the inside in early stretch. Pacesetter Caroline Test held fourth.

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Diadura, the 7-2 favorite, finished 10th in her first start on dirt after winning a pair of races at Arlington Park on Polytrack, including the Arlington-Washington Lassie.

Motion said he decided to try the Alcibiades, what he deemed an “open race,” after being pleased with his filly’s development after her maiden victory at Laurel in her second career start on Sept. 17. “She looked really well, and it’s the time of year when you have to take a shot,” he said.

Her victory gave Motion his first Grade 1 victory with a 2-year-old.