OZONE PARK, N.Y. – J and N Stables and Diamond M Stable’s Dancing Buck broke sharp and took a lead he never relinquished, with the New York-bred leading at every point of call and storming home to a five-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint for 3-year-olds and up during the Belmont at the Big A fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Dancing Buck, who trainer Michelle Nevin elevated to graded stakes company for the first time in his 14th career start, broke on top and was sent to the front by jockey Manny Franco as his charge led the nine-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.19 seconds and the half in 46.25 over the yielding outer turf course.
The 4-year-old War Dancer gelding posted five-eighths of a mile in 57.69 and continued strong to the wire, completing six furlongs in a final time of 1:09.60 for his first career stakes victory.
“I wanted to break sharp and be close, I didn’t want him to get parked too far away,” Nevin said. “Manny did a hell of a job getting him out there and to the lead like that.
“He’s such a nice, easy-going horse,” Nevin continued. “He’ll just wait on the jock to tell him what to do. I wasn’t concerned that he was going to go to the lead and go too fast, he’s very, very ratable.”
Voodoo Zip edged Yes and Yes by a neck for runner-up status, with Arzak, Thin White Duke, Chewing Gum, Scuttlebuzz, Seven Scents and Value Proposition completing the order of finish. Noble Emotion, Nothing Better, Fauci and main-track only entrant Greeley and Ben were scratched.
Off at 4-1, Dancing Buck returned $10.60 on a $2 win wager. Bred by co-owners J and N Stables in the Empire State, he ran well in a second consecutive stake after running second to Thin White Duke by a nose in the Lucky Coin on September 2. Nevin left open the possibility of targeting the 5 1/2-furlong Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on November 5 at Keeneland next.
“I’d really like that. I thought he ran huge in Saratoga going five and a half,” Nevin said. “He was unlucky to get nipped up there [in the Lucky Coin].”
Dancing Buck improved his career earnings to $431,770, banking $110,000 in victory.
“I took advantage of the break because he broke so sharp,” Franco said. “I just went on with him and he did the rest. He was nice and comfortable on the lead and he got it done. He’s getting better with age and Michelle has been doing a great job with this horse.”
Voodoo Zip, trained by Christophe Clement and ridden by Joel Rosario, rallied from seventh to earn a placing for the first time in three career stakes starts.
“He kept moving forward, but it’s tough sometimes when they run away from you like that,” Rosario said. “But he kept moving forward and we’re happy with him. He always showed that he finished well in the last part, and that’s exactly what he did today. He handled the ground fine. He ran a good race, it’s just too bad we couldn’t catch the one in front.”
Live racing resumes Sunday at Aqueduct with a 10-race card, featuring three graded stakes worth a total of $800,000. The program is headlined by a pair of Breeders’ Cup “Win And You’re In” qualifiers in the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette [Juvenile Fillies] and the Grade 2, $200,000 Pilgrim [Juvenile Turf]. Also featured on the card will be the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of every day of Belmont at the Big A on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Dancing Buck (NYRA Photo)
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