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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Trainer Mike Maker continued his stellar start to the summer meet, racking up his second consecutive win on the card when Michael Dubb’s Dancing Kiki set the pace and then drew away for a 4 1/2-length victory in Thursday’s $100,000 Saratoga Dew for New York-bred fillies and mares 3 years old and up at the Spa.
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The 17th running of the Saratoga Dew – contested at 1 1/8 miles on the Spa main track – saw Maker extend his meet-leading win total to 19 as Dancing Kiki broke sharp from the inside post under Jose Ortiz, leading the five-horse field through an opening 1/4-mile in 23.73 seconds and the 1/2 in 48.48 on the fast surface.
Simply Ravishing, the Kenneth McPeek-trained 3/2 favorite under Luis Saez, tracked in second position and made a bid from the outside in the final turn along with Maiden Beauty. But Ortiz kept Dancing Kiki to the inside, where the 4-year-old Blame filly deftly handled the final turn and then closed strong to the wire in outkicking runner-up Maiden Beauty, completing the course in 1:51.71.
“I knew I had speed, the only question was if she would handle the mile-and-an-eighth, and she did it nicely,” Ortiz said. “She had plenty left late in the last eighth of a mile, she was still running pretty decently.”
Claimed for $35,000 out of a 5 1/4-length victory going 7 furlongs on the Saratoga main track on July 22, Dancing Kiki handled the stretch out to 9 furlongs with aplomb. Now 3 of her 4 career victories in 23 starts have come in her last 6 races.
“She was doing well. I claimed her on Michael Dubb’s recommendation and I ran her here on Michael Dubb’s recommendation,” Maker said. “I wasn’t really concerned (about stretching out). Jose seemed to make an easy lead, so that added to the confidence.”
Dubb won his eighth race of the meet to tie Three Diamonds Farm for the lead among owners.
“When I handicapped the race, I thought McPeek’s horse would be aggressive going for the lead,” Dubb said. “When I didn’t see McPeek’s horse on the lead, I felt pretty comfortable. I thought the fractions were reasonable.”
Off at 7/1, Dancing Kiki returned $16 on a $2 win wager. Bred in the Empire State by Dutchess Views Farm and SGO Thoroughbred, Dancing Kiki improved her career earnings to $256,230.
“It was a little bit the breeding, by Blame,” Dubb said on the decision to claim Dancing Kiki. “The horse had been running at various distances and I have had luck with Mike stretching horses out. I think he’s known, whether it’s turf or dirt, for stretching horses out. It seemed like a horse you could stretch out.”
Maiden Beauty, claimed for $45,000 last out by trainer Robert Falcone Jr. for owners John Grossi’s Racing Corp, finished as the runner-up for the second consecutive time, besting Mrs. Orb by a 1/2-length.
“I thought the break was the key,” said Maiden Beauty jockey Joel Rosario. “She had to sit behind the front two a little bit, but she ran well. She was just second-best today. She seemed like she handled it great. We tried to make a move, we just couldn’t catch the winner.”
Espresso Shot and Simply Ravishing completed the order of finish.
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