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SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Blue Devil Racing Stable’s homebred Come Dancing returned from a four-month layoff in a big way Friday, mamboing away in the stretch to win the Distaff Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct by a considerable margin.
Breaking briskly from post 5 under Manny Franco at 4/1 odds, Come Dancing shot right to the front and set an uncontested pace through opening fractions of :23.40 and :46.68. Still well in hand as she turned for home, the Carlos Martin trainee began clearing away impressively with every step. Come Dancing eventually crossed with a 7 3/4-length advantage without ever being asked for her best in a final time of 1:22.31 for the 7-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“My filly broke so sharp out of there,” Franco said. “She put her ears up right away. That was the key. She put her ears up and I knew that I had a lot of horse under me.”
While never a match for the winner, Pacific Gale was much the best of the rest, taking second by 6 1/4 lengths over Dawn the Destroyer. Fourth went to Yorkiepoo Princess ahead of Holiday Disguise and the 8/5 favorite Kathryn the Wise, who blew the start and was unable to get close to the eventual victor. Rosyjersey completed the order of finish after never playing a factor.
Split Time and Startwithsilver were scratched.
Come Dancing’s win was her first since taking the Royal Delta Stakes at Belmont Park last September and improved her overall record to 9-5-1-0. The 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon increased her lifetime bankroll to $339,200.
“Manny is a great rider and he rode a great race,” Martin said. “I thought we were pretty good by the 1/2 (mile) because she’s a pretty sensational filly. The main thing is that she came back from the layoff and won impressively. We’ve got a lot of good options to go to from here, so it’s an exciting time for us.”
Come Dancing returned $10.60 to win, $5.90 to place, and $3 to show. Pacific Gale brought back $15.60 to place and $4.60 to show, while Dawn the Destroyer paid $2.70 to show.
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