A competitive renewal on paper, Saturday’s $302,415 Del Mar Oaks (G1) turned out that way on course as well with a nail-biter on the wire. John C. Oxley’s homebred Dream Dancing just got the lucky bob over Beau Recall, and 7-2 favorite Madam Dancealot was another neck back in third.
Shipped from Saratoga, where stablemate La Coronel was a subpar fourth in the Lake Placid (G2) earlier in the afternoon, Dream Dancing brought regular rider Julien Leparoux along. The Mark Casse pupil was reserved well off the pace in 10th, Beau Recall wasn’t far ahead of her, while Madam Dancealot switched off in last of the dozen.
As that early synopsis implies, the tempo was genuine. Blame It on Alphie established fractions of :23.61, :47.27, and 1:11.63, tracked by Meadowsweet, who passed the tiring leader swinging into the stretch. By that point, Madam Dancealot had made stealthy progress up the inside, and squeezed through a tiny opening between foes. At the same time in her vicinity, Pacific Wind was veering in and sawing off Kathy’s Song.
Wider out, Beau Recall and Dream Dancing were gaining fast, and soon the Del Mar Oaks was between them and Madam Dancealot. The 5-1 Beau Recall appeared to have a slim advantage in deep stretch, but the 6-1 Dream Dancing got her nostril flared on the line in a final time of 1:48.06 for 1 1/8 miles on firm turf. Adding more heartache to the photo for Beau Recall fans, the runner-up covered 23 feet more than Dream Dancing, according to Trakus.
Con Te Partiro, the slight second choice at 7-2, was in the right spot early, in ninth splitting Beau Recall and Dream Dancing, only to lose position just as her rivals were improving. Shuffled back to last on the far turn, the winner of the Sandringham at Royal Ascot was probably wishing she had as long a straightaway this time. Finishing well but too late, Con Te Partiro had to settle for fourth.
Meadowsweet checked in fifth, followed by Vexatious; Storm the Hill; Tapped; Pacific Wind, who was disqualified and placed 10th for hampering Kathy’s Song, next across the wire; Kenda; and Blame It on Alphie.
Dream Dancing is by Tapit and out of To Dream About, an unraced daughter of Monarchos and champion Beautiful Pleasure. Although that pedigree suggests dirt ability, Dream Dancing’s graded-placed half-siblings have prospered on other surfaces – 2012 Arlington Oaks (G3) runner-up Sky Dreamer, who never raced on dirt but mostly on synthetic and occasionally turf, and Awesome Sky, third in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at two but later a turf runner. Both are bred along similar lines to Dream Dancing, being by Sky Mesa, like Tapit a son of Pulpit who also gets turf runners. Moreover, turf influences are found on their dam’s side, most interestingly Beautiful Pleasure’s half-brother, multiple Grade 1 star and $2.4 million-earner Mecke.
After breaking her maiden second time out on the Saratoga turf, Dream Dancing was given her chance on the main track as a juvenile. But she just wasn’t doing herself justice through a series of unplaced efforts in the Pocahontas (G2), Alcibiades (G1), and Golden Rod (G2). Dream Dancing woke up back on turf this winter at Gulfstream Park, capturing an allowance and notching her first stakes in the Herecomesthebride (G3).
Rallying too late behind a slow pace when fourth to La Coronel in the Appalachian (G3), Dream Dancing was just nabbed by her stablemate in the Edgewood (G3). She didn’t thrive in New York, winding up third to New Money Honey in the Wonder Again (G3) and seventh to Proctor’s Ledge last out in the Lake George (G3).
Proctor’s Ledge, previously beaten in the Appalachian and Edgewood too, has since jumped up and completed a rare double in Saturday’s Lake Placid. Now Dream Dancing has reinforced the depth of those same two races by earning her biggest victory at Del Mar, boosting her bankroll to $415,210 from a record of 12-4-2-1.
Quotes from Del Mar
Winning rider Julien Leparoux on Dream Dancing: “No special instructions from Mark (trainer Casse). The last time I rode her, I asked her at the three-eighths and she got a little weary at the end. This time I tried to wait as long as I could and she was still strong at the finish. This feels good; a win is a win, no matter where you get it.”
Casse assistant Julie Stormfelt: “There was a very good pace up front, which she likes. She has more than one run and a very good kick and when I saw her coming down the stretch I was just screaming, very happy. This is my first time travelling with a horse and it’s nice to be a winner.”
Jockey Joe Talamo on near-misser Beau Recall: “I’ve had my fair share of bad beats in my career, but this one has to rank right up there (with the worst of them). Nasty. I had a good trip, she fought when that other filly (Dream Dancing) came up outside her, but we just got beat (by a nose).”
Jamie Theriot, who rode third-placer Madam Dancealot: “I had a great trip. I was getting through all the way on the rail. At the top the stretch I saw a hole and I said ‘If I can get through there, this is going to be one of the great rides.’ I got through, just barely. I felt my horse brush horses on both sides of me. But I had to alter stride for two jumps and that cost me. She ran great and tried hard. Almost.”
Jockey Flavien Prat on fourth-placer Con Te Partiro: “She was going nice and easy over on the backside. Then she came with a nice move late. Just not good enough today.”