In front of a massive Keeneland Race Course crowd of 39,722, Dance With Fate earned 100 points toward the Kentucky Derby when he won the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes.
Dance With Fate had about four horses beaten as the field went down the backstretch under a moderate pace with Pablo del Monte on the lead. Jockey Corey Nakatani guided Dance With Fate to the outside on the far turn and the big, dark bay colt finally was able to make his run.
Dance With Fate reeled in Pablo del Monte and Medal Count in the stretch and easily passed them with Medal Count also getting past Pablo del Monte. The Two Step Salsa colt won the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass Stakes in a time of 1:50.06 on the synthetic Polytrack surface.
“They were actually going a little slower than I anticipated, but being on the Polytrack, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Talking to [trainer] Peter [Eurton] about the race before he said, ‘if you can get him to switch off, [give him] a target to run at and save a little and make your best run when it counts,’ ” said Nakatani. “I don’t have a doubt he’ll [go 1 ¼ miles], it’s just if he handles the Churchill Downs surface at this point.”
DANCE WITH FATE (center) IN THE STRETCH OF THE BLUE GRASS STAKES
Photo by Keeneland/Coady Photography
Dance With Fate, who had eight points toward the Kentucky Derby before the Blue Grass Stakes earned a starting spot in the first jewel of the Triple Crown with 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Medal Count, who entered the race after winning last Friday’s Transylvania Stakes, finished second. Pablo del Monte held on for third with Big Bazinga rounding out the top four.
Medal Count earned 40 points toward the Derby and should comfortably qualify for the 20-horse field. Pablo del Monte picked up 20 points and Big Bazinga earned 10.
Trained by Eurton, Dance With Fate had been close to winning Grade 1 races in the past with second-place finishes in both the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner Stakes last year. He most recently finished second to Tamarando in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby in February.
Eurton isn’t sure if he’ll send the talented Blue Grass winner to the Kentucky Derby or not.
“I just don’t know, three weeks is kind of quick back. I know he loves synthetic better; I just don’t know if he likes dirt,” Eurton said. “I know I’m going to hear it from everybody though.”
Bred by Best A Luck Farm in Florida, Dance With Fate is owned by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable, and Ciaglia Racing LLC.
Saturday’s attendance of 39,722 was the second largest all time behind the 2012 Blue Grass Stakes day.
For an Equibase chart, click here.