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Cruise and Danze waltzes home in $100K Ruthless

Cruise and Danze waltzes home in $100K Ruthless

SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Haymarket Farm homebred Cruise and Danze utilized a pace-pressing trip to capture Sunday’s $100,000 Ruthless, a seven-furlong test for sophomore fillies at Aqueduct Racetrack.

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Trained by Jeremiah O’Dwyer, the dark bay daughter of Danza broke sharply under Eric Cancel and settled just outside of frontrunner Panthera Onca through an opening quarter-mile in 23.16 on the main track rated good.

Bay Jewel, who broke last of eight, rushed up the rail on the backstretch to race inside a tightly-packed tracking group of Well Brush Mytooth, Wiggle and Jiggle and Miss Marissa, while Panthera Onca and Cruise and Danze were heads apart through a half-mile in 47.06.

Cruise and Danze took command midway through the turn as Miss Marissa launched a wide bid and Panthera Onca seemingly stalled along the rail. Cruise and Danze continued to find more down the lane and scurried home a 2 ¼-length winner under light handling from Cancel in a final time of 1:25 flat. A resurgent Panthera Onca rallied up the rail to nose out Miss Marissa for the exacta.

“I had a wonderful trip. My filly is very quick and tactical,” said Cancel. “She could be on the lead or coming from off the pace, but today I decided to keep her a little bit closer. Speed was carrying pretty good today and she responded very well. They brought her ready and it worked out very well.”

Wiggle and Jiggle, Wicked Amber, Well Brush Mytooth, Bay Jewel and The New Miami rounded out the order of finish. Love of My Heart was scratched.

Cruise and Danze graduated at second asking in a Laurel Park maiden sprint but was off-the-board next out in the Warrior’s Reward Smart Halo in her stakes debut at Laurel. She arrived at the Ruthless from a narrow nose defeat in an optional-claiming tilt on December 14 contested on a sloppy Aqueduct main track.

O’Dwyer said he was pleased to see Cruise and Danze handle the stretch out to seven furlongs.

“I always liked this filly. I was a little concerned about the seven furlongs because she’s very fast,” said O’Dwyer. “Eric gave her a lovely ride. She’s very rateable. She jumped well and just sat off [Panthera Onca] on the inside.

“She’s very straight-forward. She was well-educated when she came to us,” he added. “We were just taking a step back and getting her to relax instead of just jump and go. [Exercise rider] Dylan Smith rides her every day and they get along great. She does everything right for us.”

The victory marked the second stakes score for O’Dwyer at the Big A, having saddled Kentucky Derby hopeful Shotski to a half-length win here in the Grade 2 Remsen in December.

Shotski is expected to return to Aqueduct on Saturday for the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers, offering 10-4-2-1 qualifying points for the first Saturday in May.

The Kentucky-bred Cruise and Danze banked $55,000 in victory while improving her record to 2-1-0 from five starts. She returned $7.90 for a $2 win ticket.

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