Dance to Bristol danced to an easy victory and represented her owner and trainer with their first graded stakes score in the June 15 Bed o' Roses Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park, when she seized the lead just outside the eighth pole and prevailed by 2 3/4 lengths over front-runner Fantasy of Flight (VIDEO).
Trained by Ollie Figgins III for Susan Wantz, the daughter of Speightstown is now riding a five-race win streak. She notched additional black-type scores by a combined winning margin of 13 3/4 lengths in the April 20 Sugar Maple Stakes presented by CANTER Mid-Atlantic Stakes at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, and the May 17 Skipat at Pimlico Race Course.
"Whenever you have a (winning) streak like that, it's just hard for a horse to perform like that every time, but she seems to do it, somehow," said Figgins of 8-5 favorite Dance to Bristol, who now boasts a record of 8-7-0 from 16 starts, for earnings of $500,880. "As long as she stays healthy, hopefully it will keep happening."
"She's a filly with speed, but she's not the run-off type," added Figgins. "She's not the type you have to coax off the bridle. You just set your hands still, and she relaxes. If you ask to move forward, she does."
Five older fillies and mares contested the seven-furlong Bed o' Roses, which was the graded stakes debut for Dance to Bristol. The 5-1 shot Withgreatpleasure missed the break and trailed by five lengths, while Fantasy of Flight went to the front narrowly. She was closely followed by Delightful Quality, with Dance to Bristol rating back in third. Early fractions over a fast track were 23:01 for a quarter mile; and :45 4/5 for a half mile.
Fantasy of Flight continued to race in the lead into the stretch with jockey Cornelio Velasquez trying to harness some of her speed, while Delightful Quality remained a length back in second. Dance to Bristol appeared an unhurried third with a quarter mile to go.
As Delightful Quality inched closer in second, Dance to Bristol was poised on the outside for the stretch drive, and then was cut loose at the top of the lane by jockey Xavier Perez. She grabbed lead just outside the eighth pole and lengthened her advantage to the wire, completing the distance in 1:20.81.
Fantasy of Flight fought on for second at odds of 5-2, while Delightful Quality was a length farther back in third with Javier Castellano aboard. Withgreatpleasure and Willet completed the order of finish.
"I let her do what she always does, which is break good and settle behind horses," said Perez of Dance to Bristol, who paid $5.30, $3.20, and $2.80 as the 118-pound co-highweight. Fantasy of Flight, who also shouldered 118, paid $3.60 and $3.20, while Delightful Quality returned $3.50.
"When I asked her to run—to put her on the outside—I did it right away because she doesn't like to be between horses too much," Perez added. "I tried to get her on the best part of the track, and I did. Approaching the quarter pole, I just shook my reins at her a little bit and she took off running. Down from the quarter pole to the wire was just an easy jog for her.
"I was 4-for-4 and now 4-for-4 with her—it's a fun ride every time I ride her. Every time she runs, she runs better. Today was a big test for her, a big step to run in a graded race, and she improved pretty good. She took on good company today."
Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. David Garner, Dance to Bristol is out of the Louis Quatorze mare Dance to Dawn. She was a $42,000 purchase at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale.
Munnings Sister scratched.