Entered off a maiden win in her second start Sept. 17 at Laurel Park, Dancing Rags proved up to making the jump to grade I stakes. Dancing Rags is campaigned by Phyllis Wyeth's Chadds Ford Stable, which also campaigned the filly's classic-winning sire Union Rags.
Trained by Graham Motion, the daughter of Union Rags completed the 1 1/16-mile test under Angel Cruz in 1:44.69 as the Maryland-based rider earned his first graded stakes win. Motion noted that Cruz had to drive from Maryland to make Friday's race before a Keeneland fall meet opening day-record crowd of 19,882.
Caroline Test broke well from post six in the 1 1/16-mile test for juvenile fillies under Jose Ortiz and led through a quarter-mile in :23.72 and a half-mile in :47.43 while Dancing Rags tracked from third behind Cold Hearted Pearl. Dancing Rags improved position through the turn and challenged for the lead just after six furlongs in 1:11.82.
Dancing Rags briefly appeared to lose focus for a stride or two as she challenged for the lead but Cruz brought her attention back and she claimed the lead and was not seriously challenged in the short stretch to claim a one-length victory. Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) winner Daddys Lil Darling, who raced 12th through a half-mile rallied well to finish second, two lengths in front of Fun, who entered off a fourth in the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I).
After finishing third in her Aug. 5 debut sprinting on the Laurel turf, Motion stretched Dancing Rags out to the one-turn mile on the main track where she stalked in second early before scoring a clear win in that Sept. 17 maiden special weight test.
"I felt it was an open race. She just seemed to have done really well since her maiden win at Laurel (on Sept. 17) and progressively kept improving," Motion said. "This is the time of year when you've got to take a shot."
Dancing Rags returned $26.60, $10.60, and $7.40 across the board while Daddys Lil Darling paid $6.20 and $4.60 to place and show. Fun returned $6.40 to show.
"I had a great trip. I was in a good position, and the horse did her job," Cruz said. "I cruised home to victory. I had plenty of horse the whole time. She gave me it all. Graham Motion had her ready, and thank you to the owner for this grand opportunity. My first grade I (victory and first mount at Keeneland)."
Dancing Rags is the second grade I-winning filly from the first crop of freshman sire Union Rags, joining Del Mar Debutante Stakes winner Union Strike. Bred in Maryland by David DiPietro, Dancing Rags is out of winning grade III-placed Home Court, by Storm Cat. All seven of Home Court's starters have won, including grade II winner Coup de Grace (Tapit), who is grade I-placed.
The Alcibiades is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race, granting Dancing Rags a berth to the 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Motion said he would consider making the trip to Santa Anita Park.
Also, the top four finishers earned points toward qualifying for next year's Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) field.
Chadds Ford Stable landed Dancing Rags for $210,000 at this year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March sale of 2-year-olds in training where she was consigned by Casse Sales, agent for Kinsman Farm.