Wild Heart Dancing Wires Athenia Handicap

Wild Heart Dancing Wires Athenia Handicap
Photo: Associated Press / NYRA / Adam Coglianese
Wild Heart Dancing, ridden by Jorge Chavez, en route to winning the Athenia Handicap Sunday at Aqueduct.
Jockey Jorge Chavez won the $112,500 Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT) for the second straight year, riding front-running Wild Heart Dancing to a half-length victory Sunday at Aqueduct. Chavez won the Athenia last year aboard Antoniette.

Wild Heart Dancing led by a half-length after an opening half-mile in :48.48 and held off Fickle Friends late charge along the rail to complete the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.40 over firm turf. Betting favorite Silken finished third, a half-length behind Fickle Friends. Idle Rich, Neptune's Bride, Spook Express, and Nordican Inch completed the order of finish. La Ville Rouge, who broke in the air unseating jockey Mike Luzzi, did not finish.

"She had no problem taking the lead and relaxed great down the backstretch," said Chavez. "She was very determined when both those horses came at her in the stretch."

The winner, carrying 115 pounds, earned $67,500 for My Jo Lee Stable. The Eugene F. Brajczewski-trained 4-year-old filly came in to the race following a last-place finish in the WinStar Galaxy Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. Prior to the Galaxy, she won the Canadian Handicap (Can-II) after finishing last of 10 in the Beverly D (gr. I) at Arlington in August. The win improved her career record to eight wins from 24 starts. Wild Heart Dancing (Farma Way--Star of Wicklow, by Fast Play) was bred in Florida by J.R. Cavanaugh.

The winner returned $13.80, $7.60 and $4.10. Fickle Friends paid $11.00 and $4.80, and Silken was worth $2.80 to show. The winning exacta paid $102.50.

Brajczewski said the Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT) Nov. 26 at Hollywood Park will be Wild Heart Dancing's next likely start. (Chart, Equibase)

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