Stage rehearsal for Come Dancing’s Arkansas Debut in Apple Blossom

April 12, 2020

Saturday morning was a school day for millionaire Grade 1 winner Come Dancing, who stood in the gate before galloping for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in advance of the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) for older fillies and mares April 18.

Come Dancing will be making her first start for Lukas in the 1 1/16-mile Apple Blossom after previously being with New York-based trainer Carlos Martin. A five-time stakes winner, Come Dancing hasn’t started since finishing sixth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) – her only career race outside New York – Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.

Come Dancing was sent to Lukas approximately three weeks ago and has recorded two local breezes, including a 6-furlong move in 1:12.60 Tuesday morning.

“It was very impressive,” Lukas said near the end of training hours Saturday morning. “The way she moves out there and gets over the racetrack like she does – she is some kind of impressive filly.”

Come Dancing also breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 March 31. Asked about her 11th-hour training regiment, Lukas said he will “play it by ear.” Post positions for the Apple Blossom will be drawn Wednesday.

“I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do,” Lukas said. “I might let her breeze through the stretch a little bit. I might even work her an easy half or something. I’ll just let her tell us.”

Lukas said he hasn’t finalized riding assignments for Come Dancing or stablemate Bravazo, who is scheduled to make his next start in the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) for older horses May 2. Come Dancing was ridden in her final three starts last year by Javier Castellano, who guided the 6-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon to victories in the $500,00 Ballerina Stakes (G1) Aug. 24 at Saratoga and the $300,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) Sept. 22 at Belmont Park. Overall, Come Dancing has won 8 of 14 career starts and earned $1,064,950.

“We’re flirting with a couple of different people,” Lukas said. “Castellano has ridden her in the past and I think he got cleared this week or something. I really don’t know if that means here or where else, with all the stuff that’s going on.”

Lukas said March 31 that the Apple Blossom was on Come Dancing’s “radar,” but Covid-19, complicated matters for Martin, grandson of the late Hall of Fame trainer, Frank “Pancho” Martin, and breeder/owner Marc Holliday (Blue Devil Racing Stable).

The Apple Blossom closed April 9 with 24 nominations. Other projected starters include Serengeti Empress for trainer Tom Amoss, Go Google Yourself for trainer Paul McGee and Street Band for trainer Larry Jones.

Serengeti Empress won the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 14, the final major local prep for the Apple Blossom. Serengeti Empress worked a half-mile in :49 Saturday morning at Fair Grounds. Go Google Yourself won another major local Apple Blossom prep, the $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) Feb. 17. Go Google Yourself worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 Saturday morning at Fair Grounds. Street Band, a millionaire Grade 1 winner, finished fourth in the Azeri.

Oaklawn Press Release 

Photo: Come Dancing. Credit: Oaklawn Park

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