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Dance to Bristol edges Book Review in Ballerina

Dance to Bristol gamely held Book Review (left) to earn her seventh straight win (Harold Roth/
With a trip much like the one she received in last month's Honorable Miss Handicap, Dance to Bristol extended her win streak to seven with a photo-finish victory over Book Review in Friday's Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina at Saratoga.

Breaking from post 1 and settling in fourth as Classic Point led through splits of :23 and :45 4/5, Dance to Bristol saved ground to the middle of the turn when she was tipped out by jockey Xavier Perez. Making a four-wide rally into contention turning for home, Dance to Bristol took over at the eighth pole and gamely held off a late charge from 3-2 favorite Book Review to win by a head.

The 8-5 second choice, Dance to Bristol returned $5.50 after completing seven furlongs over a fast track in 1:23.

"Her will to win is what makes her special," trainer Ollie Figgins III said. "Book Review had dead aim on her inside the eighth pole. Once she saw her coming, she just wouldn't let her by. She broke nice and clean and (Xavier Perez) just let her get her rhythm. She eased to the outside a little past the half-mile pole, it looked like, and everything went pretty smooth.

"We'll get her back to the barn, see how she is, and go from there," said Figgins when asked whether he would train the Bowie-based Dance to Bristol up to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint in November. "Once again, she's a very easy filly, she lets you know how she is. If she bounces out of the race well, then we may look for something."

Book Review, invading from California for Bob Baffert, finished 1 1/2 lengths clear of 13-1 chance Villanesca, who was followed under the wire by Street Girl, Classic Point, Starship Truffles, Fantasy of Flight, Sure Route, Moment in Dixie, and Glorious View.

Judy the Beauty, one of the wagering favorites as post time approached, was a late scratch after an incident in the starting gate just before the start of Ballerina.

"Other than losing a tooth, she's fine," said trainer Wesley Ward, adding that Judy the Beauty could make her next start in the Presque Isle Downs Masters on September 9.

Dance to Bristol, who races for Susan Wantz, broke her maiden in her third start in October 2011 and and then finished second in her stakes debut the following month. She registered her first stakes score in her next start, the Pandera at Aqueduct, to close out her two-year-old campaign. At three, Dance to Bristol captured the Marshua at Laurel and placed in the Wide Country over the same track and in the Trevose at Parx Racing.

The four-year-old filly made her four-year-old bow in the January 12 What a Summer at Laurel, finishing second in her only loss on the year to date. She dropped down in class her next two times out, winning allowances at Laurel, before stepping back up to stakes company to take the Sugar Maple at Charles Town and the Skipat at Pimlico by a combined 13 3/4 lengths. She preceded this victory with wins in the Bed o' Roses Handicap at Belmont by 2 3/4 lengths, and the aforementioned neck score in the July 29 Honorable Miss. Her record now stands at 18-10-7-0, $920,880.

The daughter of Speightstown was bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. David Garner and is out of the Louis Quatorze mare Dance to Dawn. Her second dam is the multiple Grade 3 winner Expressive Dance, who produced Grade 1 hero Chief Honcho. Her female family also produced multiple Grade 2 winner American Change and Group 1 scorer Poet's Voice.

Most notably, her third dam is the Native Dancer mare Exclusive Dancer, from whom is descended the likes of multiple Grade 1 winners Versailles Treaty and General Assembly.

Dance to Bristol was sold as a two-year-old in training for $42,000 at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale.

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