Updated on 09/17/2011 10:24PM

Runaway Dancer takes Jim Murray

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Benoit & Associates
Runaway Dancer (left) and Garrett Gomez runs down Vangelis en route to a 1 1/2-length victory Saturday in the Grade 3, $350,000 Jim Murray Handicap at Hollywood.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A lengthy vacation has revived Runaway Dancer's career.

Making his second start after an eight-month break, Runaway Dancer pulled an upset at 17-1 in Saturday's $350,000 at Hollywood Park.

"He's right back to his best form," trainer Dan Hendricks said. "He's come back better than ever."

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Runaway Dancer rallied from last to pass seven rivals and win by a convincing 1 1-2 lengths. Runaway Dancer finished 1 1-2 miles on turf in 2:26.75.

Saturday's Grade 3 Murray marked Runaway Dancer's return after finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita on April 9. Last year, Runaway Dancer finished last in the Jim Murray.

Even Runaway Dancer's most dedicated supporters could not have been too optimistic on Saturday when the field reached the final turn.

Runaway Dancer was last, trailing leader Sarafan by more than seven lengths. With a wide rally through the stretch, Runaway Dancer ran past the field, catching then-leader Vangelis near the sixteenth pole.

"He needed a strong pace to have any chance to come up and get them," Hendricks said. "It worked out all right."

Vangelis held second, a half-length in front of Exterior, the 2-1 favorite. Both Vangelis and Exterior are trained by Bobby Frankel. Continental Red, T.H. Approval, Pellegrino, Sarafan and Deputy Lad completed the order of finish.

The victory marked Runaway Dancer's first stakes win a 38-1 upset in the Grade 3 Carleton Burke Handicap at Santa Anita in October 2003, a span of nine starts.

Owned by RL Stables, Runaway Dancer, 6, has won 6 of 22 starts and $474,590.