07/23/2017 9:31PM

Little Dancer posts Washington Oaks upset

Reed Palmer Photography/Emerald Downs
Rocco Bowen guided Little Dancer to an upset victory, her first in a stakes, in Sunday's Washington Oaks at Emerald Downs.

Leading rider Rocco Bowen guided Little Dancer to an upset victory in the $79,250 Washington Oaks at Emerald Downs Sunday. Her $27.40 win price was the longest since the race was first held at Emerald in 1996.

After breaking alertly from post-position two in the five horse filed, Bowen eased her off the rail and angled her to the outside of Daddyalwayssays, who, with Javier Matias aboard, posted a slow half-mile time of 49.11 seconds. Daddyalwayssays held a length advantage after six furlongs in 1:13.09 before Little Dancer engaged her approaching the quarter pole. The pair dueled the rest of the way with Little Dancer edging clear in the final yards to win by a half-length. Reginella rallied from last to finish a head behind Daddyalwayssays.

Heavily favored Top Quality had a wide trip and never really got involved while finishing last behind the second choice in the wagering, Blazinbeauty.

The final time was 1:50.05.

It was the first time Bowen had ridden the Kentucky-bred daughter of Successful Appeal for trainer Doris Harwood.

“Doris gave me a lot of confidence when I walked into the paddock and she asked me what I wanted to do,” said Bowen. “I wanted to commit her early and try to judge the pace. I know Javier likes to slow things down, so I didn’t want to let him get away on me.”

It was the first stakes win for Little Dancer who is owned by Ron Schmidt. She was coming off a fifth-place finish in the $50,000 Irish Day in her first try with stakes horses.

“I am sure glad she can’t read the Racing Form or see the odds,” said Schmidt.

The $41,250 winner’s share brought Little Dancer’s career earnings to $58,925. She could earn a $25,000 bonus if she wins the $100,000 British Columbia Oaks at Hastings on Sept. 9.