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Step Dancer Slips Up The Rail In Awad
Credit: NYRA / Chelsea Durand

Step Dancer Slips Up The Rail In Awad

ELMONT, NY – Trainer Barclay Tagg’s Step Dancer slipped up the rail in the stretch and pulled ahead late to win Saturday’s $80,000 Awad Stakes at Belmont Park.

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Step Dancer was the 7/1 fourth choice under Dylan Davis as he broke from post 8 and settled well off the pace while saving ground throughout the early running.

Still tucked inside as the field hit the top of the stretch, Step Dancer shot through a hole between his rivals and the rail and challenged new leader Like a Saltshaker at the 3/16 pole.

The two pulled away from the field as they fought heads apart, but Step Dancer inched his way to the lead near the 1/16 pole before crossing 3/4 of a length clear, completing the 1 1/16-mile firm inner turf route in 1:48.69.

“He just loved the ground,” Davis said. “He kept finding more and more. I was very impressed with him today. It was just like how he wowed me first time out. He really stepped up again today.”

Credit: NYRA

The co-7/2 favorites Space Launch and Wootton Asset took third and fourth, respectively, while It Can Be Done took fifth.

Shawdyshawdyshawdy, It’s a Gamble, Catman, Kidnapped, Claw, and Heat of the Night completed the order of finish.

Master of the Ring and Take Profit were scratched.

Step Dancer’s win was his second following a debut maiden score at Saratoga and followed a third-place showing in the Pilgrim Stakes (G2) last time out. The War Dancer colt has now earned $96,100 for co-owners Hayward Pressman, Diamond M Stable, and Donna Pressman.

“Last time we ran, we stayed a little too close to the pace and we thought we had to on the inner turf, but it took away from his kick,” said assistant trainer Robin Smullen. “Today, I told Dylan I wanted him 5 lengths off the pace and to find a spot and don’t ask him until he turns for home. He came home with a great kick. He doesn’t need to get to the outside. He showed that he’s game and he can do whatever you want.”

Step Dancer returned $16 to win, $8.60 to place, and $5.40 to show. Like a Saltshaker brought back $17.60 to place and $12.40 to show, while Space Launch paid $5.10 to show.

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