Updated on 07/13/2013 6:13PM

Delaware: Dancing Afleet scores 9-1 upset in Delaware Oaks

Dancing Afleet, under Joshua Navarro, wins her third straight race of the meet in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks.

Eight years ago, trainer Tim Ritchey had a great season with 3-year-old colt Afleet Alex, who won the Arkansas Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes. Ritchey is off to a similar success story this summer with a 3-year-old filly sired by Afleet Alex.

Dancing Afleet, who came into June still a maiden, has turned into a win machine the past month at Delaware Park. She won her third straight race of the meet Saturday afternoon by upsetting the Grade 2, $300,000 Delaware Oaks by a half-length over Ile St. Molly.

Ritchey bought the Pennsylvania-bred Dancing Afleet in partnership with Beverly Frazier for a modest $28,000 as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Eastern fall sale. Unraced at 2, Dancing Afleet did not make her career debut until April 11 at Oaklawn Park, where she rallied from 11th to finish fourth going six furlongs. She again came from far back in her second start, going a two-turn mile at Parx, to get third.

Dancing Afleet improved dramatically once Ritchey brought her to Delaware Park. She flashed high speed winning her maiden over a sloppy track going a mile on June 13, and then came back 11 days later to clear her first allowance condition by 3 3/4 lengths.

The 1 1/16-mile Oaks was Dancing Afleet’s third straight race at Delaware when the track contained lots of moisture. This time, she came from slightly off the pace under Joshua Navarro to run down Ile St. Molly in deep stretch over a surface labeled wet-fast.

“It was a big step up, but it was the right time to do it,” said Ritchey, who won the 2007 Delaware Oaks with Mooncatcher. “The timing was right, and I always thought this horse had the potential to do this.”

Ritchey said is pointing her toward the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion at Parx on Sept. 21.

Navarro, winning the first graded stakes of his career, had given up the mount on Ile St. Molly, whom he rode to victory in the opening-day Our Mims and to a near-miss in last month’s Go for Wand, in favor of Dancing Afleet.

Tell a Great Story, narrow winner of the Go for Wand last, did well to finish third after getting carried six wide into the first turn. The winning time was 1:44.59.

Ile St. Molly , ridden by Alex Cintron, led through six furlongs in 1:11.40 and looked like a winner when she spurted clear of Tell a Great Story with a furlong remaining. But Dancing Afleet ($21.80) had the best finishing kick and responded to Navarro’s urging to draw clear late.

"I rode Ile. St. Molly her last two races and I knew when we hit the sixteenth pole, we had a good chance because I know she slows down a bit in the last sixteenth," said Navarro, who was instructed to sit patiently with Dancing Afleet. "I waited until the three-eighths pole.  I put her to work and she responded very well."

Maracuya tired from her efforts disputing the early pace and finished seventh as the 6-5 favorite.