LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 7, 2016) – Chadds Ford Stable’s Dancing Rags swept past pace-setting Caroline Test at the top of the stretch and had more than enough left to hold off a late bid from Daddys Lil Darling to win the 65th running of the $400,000 G1 Darley Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies by a length before a Fall Meet record Friday opening-day crowd of 19,882.
The previous Friday opening-day Fall Meet record was 19,026 established in 2011.
Trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Angel Cruz, who posted his first Grade 1 victory in his Keeneland debut, Dancing Rags earned a berth in the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to be run Nov. 5 at Santa Anita.
In the race preceding the Darley Alcibiades, Green Lantern Stables’ homebred A. P. Indian scored a nose victory over Limousine Liberal in track-record time in the 164th running of the $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2) at six furlongs.
Caroline Test rolled to an uncontested lead under Jose Ortiz in the Darley Alcibiades and led the field of 14 through fractions of :23.72, :47.43 and 1:11.82. Cruz had Dancing Rags running third through the early stages before going after the leader on the far turn. Dancing Rags completed the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:44.69.
The win in the Darley Alcibiades marked the second victory in three starts for Dancing Rags, a Maryland-bred daughter of Union Rags purchased at Keeneland’s 2015 September Yearling Sale. The $240,000 winner’s share boosted her earnings to $275,360.
Dancing Rags returned $26.60, $10.60 and $7.40. Daddys Lil Darling, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $6.20 and $4.60 with Fun finishing two lengths back in third under Brian Hernandez Jr., and returning $6.40 to show.
Caroline Test was another three-quarters of a length back in fourth and was followed in order by Dream Dancing, For Honor, Benner Island, Queen Bernardina, I’mluckysgirl, favored Diadura, Sully’s Dream, Price too High, Cold Hearted Pearl and Lady Hansen.
Quotes from the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1)
Graham Motion (winning trainer of Dancing Rags)
On why he ran Dancing Rags in the Darley Alcibiades
“I felt it was an open race. She just seemed to have done really well since her maiden win at Laurel (on Sept. 17) and progressively kept improving. This is the time of year when you’ve got to take a shot.”
On whether she will compete in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Nov. 5 at Santa Anita
“We’ll talk to Mrs. Wyeth (owner Phyllis Wyeth), but we’ve got to think about it.”
Angel Cruz (winning rider)
“I had a great trip. I was in a good position, and the horse did her job. I cruised home to victory. I had plenty of horse the whole time. She gave me it all. Graham Motion had her ready, and thank you to the owner (Wyeth’s Chadds Ford Stable) for this grand opportunity. My first Grade 1 (victory and first mount at Keeneland.)”
Corey Lanerie (rider of runner-up Daddys Lil Darling)
“We had the 14 hole, and in the first turn we were a little wide. Then something happened down inside, they came out and bumped me out even a little wider.
“Coming up the backside, I got comfortable. I wanted to save some ground, but I had so much horse and her stride is so big, I didn’t want to get stopped. So I tipped her out and thought I had enough to get the job done. The wire came up just a little too soon.”
Kenny McPeek (trainer of Daddys Lil Darling)
“We had the best horse today. Rough post position, and she was hung wide and wider both turns. She’s really special and we’ll go on to the next phase (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies).”
Brian J. Hernandez Jr. (rider of third-place finisher Fun)
“We had the 1 hole; we had a great trip the entire way. My filly (Fun) ran good to be third. Any time you get a 2-year-old filly like that who’s graded placed in a Grade 1, that’s huge. She ran big today.”
Jose Ortiz (rider of fourth-place finisher Caroline Test)
“She broke very alert. I stuck with the game plan to be on the lead and give her a breather on the backside. I have no excuse; she ran a good race.”
On setting the early pace
“This is a Grade 1. You are not going to go (a half-mile) in :50. She is very fast and she is coming off a sprint race. She broke sharply, so I tried to settle her down as much as I could.”