Ballet Dancing much the best as she stalks pace and gallops to 3 ½ length win in Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ana Stakes under Flavien Prat. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box
ARCADIA, Calif.—In her first try at a mile and one quarter on turf and ridden for the first time by Flavien Prat, trainer Simon Callaghan’s Ballet Dancing stalked longshot Annaghlasa to the quarter pole and from there, took matters into her own hands in a dominant 3 ½ length tally, getting a mile and one quarter on turf in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita in 2:01.25.
Breaking alertly from the far outside, Ballet Dancing was quickly into stride as Annaghlasa and Ramon Vazquez set about carving out realistic early fractions over a course listed as good of 24.01, 47.22 and 1:12.07. (The one-mile split, set by the winner, was 1:36.70).
With 3-2 favorite Australia Mia in deep water mid-way around the far turn, there were no “dangers” among the remaining six fillies and mares and Prat was able to put the Santa Ana away at the top of the lane.
“I watched some videos of her and talked to Simon,” said Prat, who rung up his second stakes win of the weekend and his eighth overall at the Classic Meet. “She (broke) well, we got ourselves in the race and I was travelling really well all the way around. She responded really well when I asked her.”
When asked about the softer turf today, Prat responded “The turf has a little cut to it, but I thought it was really good.”
A first condition allowance winner going a mile and one eighth on turf her two starts back on Dec. 26, Ballet Dancing was most recently fourth as the favorite in a second condition allowance at the same distance Feb. 3, Ballet Dancing was off today at 9-2 in a field of seven older distaffers and paid $11.40, $5.60 and $3.80.
“This was certainly the distance we’ve been waiting for,” said Callaghan. “…I think now as an older mare, she’s just gonna flourish and I think these longer distances, a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half, they are going to be right in her wheelhouse.
“That’s very much what the pedigree suggests and her (physical) frame. I think we should have a fun older year with her.”
A 4-year-old filly by Medaglia d’Oro out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Fully Living, Ballet Dancing was purchased for $800,000 as a Keeneland September Yearling and is owned by Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.
Third in the Grade III Honeymoon Stakes versus 3-year-old fillies in her third career start, Ballet Dancing notched her first stakes win today and improved her overall mark to 9-3-1-2. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $191,060.
Sixth, about 4 ½ lengths off the lead at the half mile pole, Queen Ofthe Temple rallied well for the place while not threatening the winner. Off at 5-1 with Juan Hernandez, she paid $5.60 and $3.40 while finishing a head better than Duvet Day.
An upset winner of the mile and one-half turf Astra Stakes here Jan. 21, Duvet Day lacked a similar closing kick at today’s distance and finished a nose better than fellow Irish-bred Buzz of New York. Off at 5-1 with Kazushi Kimura, Duvet Day paid $3.60 to show.
The 3-2 favorite with Frankie Dettori, Australia Mia finished a distant last.
Live racing resumes with a 10-race card, highlighted by the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes on Friday. First post is at 1 p.m. with admission gates opening at 11 a.m.
Grade III, $100,000, Santa Ana Stakes Quotes
Simon Callaghan, Ballet Dancing, Winner: “This was certainly the distance we’ve been waiting for. During her three-year-old career they pretty much kept the races at a mile and an eighth and that was just the bare minimum, so I think now as an older mare she’s just gonna flourish and I think these longer distances, a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half they are going to be right in her wheelhouse.
“Flavien was in a perfect position the whole way. He just kept her comfortable at a stalking position. The whole race I was pretty happy with where she was and when I saw nothing was really coming and Flavien made his move I thought, ‘Well, it would be pretty tough to catch her from here.’
“I think this distance is the key for her…Keeping her at these distances, we can go even further with her, a mile and a half, I think. That’s very much what the pedigree suggests and her frame. I think we should have a fun older year with her.”