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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Blue Devil Racing Stable homebred Come Dancing returned victorious in Sunday’s $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) at Saratoga.
Breaking from the rail as the 6/5 favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Come Dancing saved ground while stalking off the pace. Lady’s Island strolled out to a lengthy early lead, posting opening fractions of :21.64 and :43.81.
Come Dancing tipped out at the top of the stretch and rallied alongside early pace pressurer Blamed, meeting the pacesetter at the 1/8 pole. She drifted in past the 1/16 pole, but Come Dancing stayed on straight enough to win by 3/4 of a length.
The Carlos Martin trainee completed the 6-furlong fast dirt sprint in a final time of 1:08.74.
“I thought I had the best filly, so I tried to stay close and not give them a chance to steal the race,” said Ortiz, Jr. “She broke well today … and sat a little closer, and I think that was the key.”
Lady’s Island was 2 3/4 lengths clear of Blamed, who had already given way by the time that Come Dancing’s drifting caused her to steady slightly.
Unholy Alliance, Pink Sands, Bye Bye J, and Pacific Gale completed the order of finish.
Come Dancing’s win was her first since last September’s Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park and improved her overall record to 18-9-3-0. The 6-year-old Malibu Moon mare has now earned $1,186,783.
“I was happy to see that Irad was able to get her to break and settle, and he had her in the clear when he made his move,” Martin said. “The track has been very fast, but I just wanted to see the old Come Dancing give us a run like the champion that she is. It’s very gratifying that (Blue Devil Racing Stable) brought her back. A lot of naysayers were saying she lost a step, but hopefully she can come back and finish the year strong and we can be vindicated. I’m so happy for Come Dancing, she’s a special horse for us.”
Come Dancing returned $4.70 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.20 to show. Lady’s Island brought back $4.70 to place and $2.90 to show, while Blamed paid $2.60 to show.
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