09/01/2013 9:04PM

Del Mar: Ethnic Dance gets third straight win in Del Mar Derby

Benoit & Associates
Ethnic Dance, with Edwin Maldonado aboard, won the second division of Sunday's Grade 2 Del Mar Derby by 1 1/4 lengths.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Ethnic Dance did not show much in his first four starts on synthetic and dirt, but he has completely turned it around since moving to turf, and he displayed just how far he’s come when leading an accomplished group of stakes horses on a merry chase to capture the $251,250 second division of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby on Sunday.

Though he was making his first start outside of California-bred competition, and in a graded stakes race, Ethnic Dance was well-supported, his closing odds less than half his 12-1 morning line, and he took full advantage of the pace edge he appeared to have on paper by leading from start to finish in the 1 1/8-mile race under a clever ride by Edwin Maldonado.

Ethnic Dance ($13.80) held off a host of challengers through the stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Infinite Magic, the Team Valor runner whose owners include Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk. Den’s Legacy was a neck farther back in third and was followed by Kid Dreams, General Election, Dorsett, Dry Summer, Olympic Blue, Play It Loud, and Dice Flavor.

Ethnic Dance was timed in 1:48.24 on firm turf. The stewards conducted a brief inquiry into the stretch run before ruling that Ethnic Dance did not interfere with Den’s Legacy.

Ethnic Dance stumbled slightly at the start but made it to the front before an opening quarter-mile in 24.66 seconds. He rated kindly for Maldonado through subsequent fractions of 49.45, 1:13.80, and 1:37.09.

“It didn’t look like there was much pace in the race,” said John Sadler, who trains Ethnic Dance for a partnership that includes his breeder, weight-loss magnate Jenny Craig. “I told Edwin I’d be happy if he was in front on a slow pace, or second.”

Sadler said he decided to take a shot in the Del Mar Derby because the race split into two divisions, and he knew he could get in. Plus, Ethnic Dance had trained well since an allowance win earlier in the meet.

Ethnic Dance is by Tribal Rule and is out of the Chester House mare House of Danzing, making him a half-brother to the brilliant Grade 1 winner Twirling Candy. He has won three straight races, all on turf.