Dance to the Music Shakes Loose in Desert Stormer

March 26, 2023

Favored Dance To The Music battles early & prevails by one length in Grade III, $100,000 Desert Stormer Stakes (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.—Favored Dance to the Music broke sharply and was head and head with runner-up Violent Runner prior to gaining the advantage in deep stretch, taking Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Desert Stormer Stakes at Santa Anita by one length. Trained by Mark Glatt and ridden for the first time by Juan Hernandez, Dance to the Music got six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:10.45.

Second in last year’s Desert Stormer, Dance to the Music, a 4-year-old filly by Maclean’s Music who sold for $575,000 at an Ocala, FLA 2-year-old in training sale, was second in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante seven starts back on Sept. 5, 2021, but had been winless in her last four starts. Today, she was making her second start off a nearly six-month freshening. 

“It’s always nice to win a stake, especially with a filly that is Grade I placed,” said Glatt. “She needed that win for residual value, we gave a lot of money for her, so I’m just happy for the owners. She kind of tailed off on us a little bit, we had to do a little throat surgery on her and tried the turf last time.

“That was kind of a disaster, so I’m just glad she was able to find a spot to kind of get some confidence back and get going in the same direction. I thought she would make an easy lead in here and I didn’t think (Violent Runner) would even come close to her, at least early on. She kind of tied into Dance to the Music down the backside and I was kind of worried about that because she’s won races when she’s made an easy lead, but I think she just proved to be the best filly (today).”

Owned by Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal, Dance to the Music was a well beaten ninth off the bench in a second condition allowance at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf Feb. 20 but was nonetheless off at 6-5 in a field of four older fillies and mares and paid $4.40 and $2.40 with no show wagering.

“She showed a lot of heart and Mark brought this filly ready to win this race,” said Hernandez, who notched his meet-leading 11th stakes win. “I felt it out of the gate. She broke really fast and when horses break like that, you know they want to win the race. I just let her be happy and around the quarter pole, I just asked her to pass the inside horse and she responded well and kept going.”

Out of the Congrats mare Beautified, Dance to the Music picked up $60,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $229,080 while improving her overall race record to 9-3-2-0.

Claimed out of a $40,000 win going seven furlongs here on Feb. 5, Violent Runner ran gamely in defeat for trainer Steve Knapp, who just missed his fourth win of the afternoon. Sent hard from the rail under Edwin Maldonado, Violent Runner finally caved approaching the sixteenth pole and checked in 4 ¼ lengths clear of Stella Noir. The second choice at 2-1 Violent Runner paid $2.80 to show.

Today’s Desert Stormer was reduced to a field of four when Phil D’Amato’s 6-5 morning line favorite Elm Drive was scratched this morning due to what was described as a “warm foot.”

Fractions on the race were 22.30, 45.27 and 57.80.

Hernandez would come right back to the Runhappy Winner’s Circle in the ninth and final race on the day, winning aboard the Librado Barocio-trained Lamplighter Jack, giving him a natural Hat Trick to finish off the Saturday program.           

Racing resumes with first post time for a nine-race card on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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