12/04/2010 8:29PM

Seans Silverdancer handles stretch-out around two turns in Illinois Debutante

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Doug Clark/Fourfootedfotos
Seans Silverdancer gives trainer Lisa Merritt her second straight victory in the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante.

Five seconds before the gate sprang open for the $100,000 Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante at Hawthorne, Seans Silverdancer was showing her lack of seasoning, throwing her head and acting up in her stall. Then the race began, and Seans Silverdancer showed her talent. Setting a quick pace in the second start of her career, and her first around two turns, Seans Silverdancer dashed away from Point Your Finger at the top of the stretch and cruised to a 9 1/2-length victory in the Whitworth.

The victory gave owner Slapshot Racing LLC and trainer Lisa Merritt their second consecutive Whitworth win, though Seans Silverdancer, a daughter of Najran, looks like more horse than the 2009 victress, Sweet Lemon Chello.

Jockey Tim Thornton sat coolly as Seans Silverdancer ($5.20) set fractions of 23.76 seconds for her first quarter-mile and 47.57 to the half while on a clear lead. Responding to Thornton’s cues, Seans Silverdancer waited till turning for home to find her best stride, and she quickly pulled away from her overmatched, Illinois-bred rivals. Winning time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:45.41 on a track rated fast but somewhat wet from persistent snow. No match for the winner, Point Your Finger ran on gamely for second, a head better than closing Nikaluk.