Duveen Turns Back Soldier's Dancer in Palm Beach

Jumping from the maiden ranks into stakes competition, Andrew Farm's Duveen won an all-out battle in the final furlong by a nose over favored Soldier's Dancer in the $115,500 Palm Beach (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds on the Gulfstream Park turf Saturday.

Tracking the leaders on the hedge for Mark Guidry, Duveen was screaming out for room as the field hit the stretch in the 1 1/8-mile event. Soldier's Dancer, angled four wide to the outside of the field by Cornelio Velasquez, seized a short lead near the furlong pole. But Duveen, after attempting to squeeze between horses, shifted back to the rail and got through on the inside of fading front-runner Storm in May. The dark bay colt by Horse Chestnut--Casanova Storm (Storm Cat) drew even with Soldier's Dancer and inched in front in the final couple of strides for the victory.

Trained by Dale Romans, the Kentucky-bred Duveen broke his maiden by 4 1/4 lengths in his last start, which came on the Gulfstream course at Saturday's distance Feb. 21. After three well-beaten starts to begin his career last season, Duveen woke up in his initial start on turf, finishing a closing second by a neck on the Gulfstream lawn Jan. 3.

Saturday's winning time was 1:47 2/5.

“Even though he just broke his maiden last out, I thought he was up to it," Romans said. "He was a new horse once we got him on turf. We tried to get him on turf a couple times last year, but the races were forced off.”

Duveen broke in front but settled back behind Storm in May, who fought his way to the lead with Brainy Benny prompting the pace on the outside. The duo led the seven-horse field that way through fractions of :24, :48 4/5 and 1:12 2/5. Duveen, racing in fourth on the inside of One of the Best, was always close to the pacesetters. After straightening for the stretch Brainy Benny gave way as Soldier's Dancer loomed up on the outside to challenge Storm in May, being urged on by Manoel Cruz. Once Duveen got free, the race came down to those two for a thrilling finish.

"We had a little traffic problem," Guidry said of Duveen's trip. "I went to split horses and they came together, but he accelerated once we had a good clear lane.”

Storm in May held on for third, with Brooklyn's Smart taking fourth.

The victory was the second in six starts for Duveen, whose earnings climbed to $92,494. Richard Brodie, Robert Scanlon and James Buckley bred the winner.

Sent off as the second choice, Duveen paid $7, $3.40 and $2.60. Soldier's Dancer, winner of the Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) on the Calder grass Jan. 1, returned $3 and $2.20, completing a $21.20 exacta as the 9-5 choice. Storm in May, switching back to the grass after a sixth-place finish in Gulfstream's Hutcheson (gr. II) three weeks ago, was $2.40 to show.

Brooklyn's Smart was followed by Marshala, One of the Best and Brainy Benny.

(Chart, Equibase)

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