05/06/2016 12:26PM

Gold Rush Dancer just hitting stride

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Shane Micheli/Vassar Photography
Gold Rush Dancer wins the Silky Sullivan Stakes at Golden Gate Fields in his turf debut.

Gold Rush Dancer may turn out to be something when he grows up.

On May 1 at Golden Gate Fields, Gold Rush Dancer won his second stakes – and his first in California – in the $100,000 Silky Sullivan Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds at a mile on turf. Owner and breeder John Parker, of Washington state, said Gold Rush Dancer won despite showing signs of immaturity.

“I guess he’s green, and the jockey said he likes to look around,” he said on Friday.

Gold Rush Dancer has won 3 of 10 starts and $184,423, including the Joe Gottstein Futurity at Emerald Downs last September. The Silky Sullivan was his first race on turf.

Gold Rush Dancer joined trainer Vann Belvoir’s stable in Southern California earlier this year.

“When I first got him, I thought this horse should love the grass, the way he traveled,” Belvoir said. “I think he’s still got a ways to go.”

Gold Rush Dancer is a product of West Coast breeding. He is by Private Gold, who stands in Washington. Gold Rush Dancer’s dam, the unraced Dances on Water, was bred to Private Gold in 2012 and shipped to Rancho San Miguel in San Miguel, Calif., in 2013, where she delivered Gold Rush Dancer. Dances on Water was bred back to the Rancho San Miguel stallion Marino Marini, but the mating proved unsuccessful, Parker said.

Gold Rush Dancer was registered as a California-bred because Dances on Water was bred to a California stallion after delivering her foal in this state. Earlier this year, Dances on Water produced a colt by the Washington-based stallion Preachinatthebar and was recently bred to Private Gold, Parker said.

From his early days, Gold Rush Dancer attracted attention.

“This is the best one I’ve had by far,” Parker said. “When he was a yearling, they told me he’d be an awesome runner. He’s on his way up. He’s never had an issue with ankles or knees, and he’s an outstanding horse to have in the barn. I think he’ll win again.”

Parker, who turned 55 on Friday, owns a shipping company in Tacoma, Wash., that specializes in hauling lumber and steel. He will be at Santa Anita for Gold Rush Dancer’s next start, the $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes for California-breds at 1 1/8 miles on turf May 28.

Stakes at the Santa Anita spring-summer meeting also figure in the plans for Cheekaboo, who won her first stakes in the $100,000 Campanile Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies at a mile on turf at Golden Gate Fields, also on May 1.

Trained by Peter Eurton for Sharon Alesia, Mike Burns, and Ciaglia Racing, Cheekaboo was third in the California Cup Oaks on turf at Santa Anita in January in her only other stakes appearance.

“She’s a grass horse and can go a lot farther,” Eurton said.

The next stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf at Santa Anita is the $200,000 Honeymoon Stakes, a Grade 2 at 1 1/8 miles on June 19.

Cheekaboo, by Unusual Heat, has won 2 of 6 starts and earned $137,680. She was purchased at the 2014 Barretts October yearling sale for $55,000.