Grade 1-Placed School Dance Tops Wishing Well Field

February 23, 2024

School Dance wins a starter optional claimer Oct. 15, 2022, at Santa Anita (Benoit Photo)

Race Is Named in Honor of the Dam of 1989 Horse of the Year Sunday Silence

Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— Idle since mid-August, Phil D’Amato’s Grade I stakes-placed School Dance gets the services of Frankie Dettori and heads a robust field of 11 older fillies and mares going about 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in Sunday’s $100,000 Wishing Well Stakes.

Named in honor of the dam of the legendary Charlie Whittingham-trained Sunday Silence, the Wishing Well shapes up as a wide-open affair. A multiple stakes winner in her own right, Wishing’s Well’s pairing with Halo in 1985 produced Sunday Silence in the spring of 1986, and by virtue of victories in both the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies, Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic, he was named 1989’s Eclipse Champion Horse of the Year.

A classy 5-year-old mare by Animal Kingdom, School Dance was a close second in the Grade I American Oaks at a mile and one quarter on turf six starts back on Dec. 26, 2022, and proved very competitive in three consecutive one-mile turf stakes later that winter, including the Grade II Royal Heroine, a race in which she placed second, beaten 1 ½ lengths.

A well-beaten seventh however in her two most recent starts, the Grade II Yellow Ribbon on Aug. 12 at Del Mar and the Grade I Gamely on May 29, and has a steady work tab at both Los Alamitos and at Santa Anita for her return to the races.

Owned by Agave Racing Stable and Rockin Robin Racing Stables, it’s very notable that she’ll be ridden for the first time by Frankie Dettori, as he takes off of a pair of impressive last-out winners to ride School Dance.

Originally based in Florida with trainer Joe Orseno, School Dance, who has earnings of $235,940, has raced exclusively on turf for D’Amato, winning two of her eight starts, all routes. She’ll be trying the downhill turf course for the first time on Sunday as she looks for her first stakes win in career start number 16.

With one win from three hillside tries, the Dan Blacker-trained Lunar Impact, a 4-year-old English-bred filly, appears to be a solid fit, but she loses the services of Dettori, who guided her to a 2 ¼ length score in a downhill allowance on Jan. 6, a race in which she won in virtual gate to wire fashion.

With Dettori opting for School Dance, a red-hot Antonio Fresu, who last rode Lunar Impact four starts back, taking a one-mile turf maiden race here on Oct. 1, will get a leg-up as she tries stakes competition for the first time. Owned by D K Racing, LLC, Qatar Racing, LLC, Gold, et al, Lunar Impact, who has two wins and a third-place finish from seven starts, has proven effective on the lead or stalking the early pace.

Idle since April 22 of last year, Doug O’Neill’s One Silk Stocking, a close fourth at one mile on turf in the Grade III Megahertz Stakes three starts back on Feb. 4, 2023, rallied from off the pace to just miss, finishing fifth, beaten three-quarters of a length in a hillside turf allowance on April 22 and thus rates a huge look from off the bench with Tiago Pereira riding her back.

A 5-year-old mare by top sprinter Lord Nelson out of the Street Cry mare Keep Right, One Silk Stocking will be trying stakes competition for the second time. Owned by Roadrunner Racing, Neil Haymes, William Strauss, et al, One Silk Stocking has three wins and two seconds from 11 career starts.

O’Neill, who will saddle a total of three horses in the Wishing Well, would appear to have big chance with Phenom, who was claimed for $25,000 out of a 2 ¼ allowance score going five furlongs on turf at Del Mar two starts back on Nov. 26. Subsequently a smashing 7 ¼ length winner going gate to wire out of Santa Anita’s turf chute at six furlongs on Jan. 19, look for Phenom to blast off and try not to look back on Sunday.

Ridden by Dettori on Jan. 19, Phenom, a 5-year-old mare by Midnight Lute, posted a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure and will be ridden for the first time by Edwin Maldonado.

Owned by Michael Bello, LLC, Sheila Bambauer and Doug O’Neill, Phenom, who is 14-4-1-2 overall, will be trying stakes company for the first time.


Race 9 of 10 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT

  1. Lunar Impact – Antonio Fresu – 120
  2. Gracelund Gray – Kazushi Kimura – 124
  3. Phenom – Edwin Maldonado – 120
  4. Ag Bullet – Umberto Rispoli – 124
  5. Miss Lizzy – Hector Berrios – 120
  6. Violent Runner – Jeremy Laprida – 122
  7. Ice Dancing – Mike Smith – 124
  8. Carmen Miranda – Geovanni Franco – 122
  9. One Silk Stocking – Tiago Pereira – 120
  10. School Dance – Lanfranco Dettori – 120
  11. Warrens Candy Girl – Drayden Van Dyke – 124

First post time for a 10-card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.

@jonathanstettin #2 Ettalusive ran big to finish 2nd in Gulf Stream 3rd 16-1

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