05/28/2016 7:41PM

Gold Rush Dancer prevails by nose in Snow Chief

Benoit & Associates
Gold Rush Dancer, under Flavien Prat, narrowly gets up as the 3-2 favorite in the Snow Chief.

ARCADIA, Calif.- Gold Rush Dancer showed his affection for turf racing with a hard-fought win in Saturday’s $188,000 Snow Chief Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds at Santa Anita.

Gold Rush Dancer outfinished Ralis, winning by a nose as the 3-2 favorite. There were a few tense moments after the race. The stretch run was the subject of an inquiry involving fourth-place finisher Glory Bound, who took up in the final furlong while racing alongside Gold Rush Dancer. After a review, the stewards did not change the order of finish.

Gold Rush Dancer ($5) ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:49.37. He was favored on the basis of his win in the Silky Sullivan Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds at a mile on turf at Golden Gate Fields on May 1, the colt’s first start on the surface.

“I think we’ll keep him on the grass,” trainer Vann Belvoir said in the winner’s circle.

Ridden by Flavien Prat, Gold Rush Dancer stalked pacesetter Glory Bound for the first six furlongs through a modest pace of 23.75 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.56 for a half-mile.

“He was a little rank early,” Belvoir said. “I was a little worried about that. He was relaxed on the backstretch.”

With a two-wide move, Gold Rush Dancer took the lead in early stretch, but was fully extended to beat Ralis, the winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga last September.

“It was a good horse race,” Belvoir said. “I gave the fist bump a little early.”

Ralis finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of Tough It Out, who was second in the Silky Sullivan. Glory Bound was fourth, in front of The Big Train in a field of five. Midnight Ming, third in the Silky Sullivan, was scratched on Saturday morning after being diagnosed with a foot abscess, trainer Billy Morey said.

Gold Rush Dancer, by the Seeking the Gold stallion Private Gold, races for owner and breeder John Parker. A colt, Gold Rush Dancer has won 4 of 11 starts and earned $294,423.

Gold Rush Dancer has won three stakes, including the Gottstein Futurity at Emerald Downs last September. Belvoir said Gold Rush Dancer will be pointed for turf stakes for 3-year-olds at Del Mar this summer.