Soldier's Dancer Marches in Miami Mile
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 10/18/2008 3:48:54 PM
Last Updated: 10/19/2008 8:21:33 PM
Soldier's Dancer draws off in the Miami Mile under Manoel Cruz.
Jim Lisa Photos
Favored Soldier's Dancer made it back-to-back stakes wins when he burst away from the field in deep stretch to register an easy four-length triumph in the $100,000 Miami Mile Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) on the Calder turf course Oct. 18.
The 4-year-old Lost Soldier gelding has never been better for trainer David Vivian. Soldier's Dancer won Philadelphia Park's $250,000 President's Cup in his last start Sept. 13, charging from last to first for a two-length victory.
He shortened up a furlong for the Miami Mile, a distance he had never run in a stakes race, but he had plenty of room for his big kick in the center of the course for jockey Manoel Cruz.
“The distance didn’t bother me at all," Vivian said. "I think he’s a better horse than these others. But what concerned me a little was 10 horses going a mile and any traffic problems."
Quistopher broke best and staked a soft pace on the firm track while pushed along by Mr. Silver and A.P. Magic. Fractions were :24, :47 4/5 and 1:11 2/5. Rounding the final turn Quistopher, at the rail, was overtaken by A.P. Magic on the outside of the three front-runners, with Mr. Silver and Quistopher trying to keep up. None were around at the end, however, as a number of challengers engaged for the lead. But Soldier's Dancer, mid-pack in upper stretch, swung into contention on the outside and took a narrow lead near the furlong pole, drawing off from there. The winning time was 1:35.73.
“To describe this race in one word, I would have to say ‘perfect,’ because this horse lets you do whatever is necessary with him to be in the right position to win," Cruz said. "He actually places himself perfectly in the race. I’ve ridden this horse a couple times before and I always knew how special he is. Today as soon as we cleared around the first turn I knew we were going to win.”
Wise River, ridden by Francisco Torres, ran second, with Fair Weather Stan and Javier Santiago three-quarters for a length back in third. Magic Mecke finished fourth.
Soldier's Dancer, who won the Calder Derby (gr. IIIT) by six lengths one year ago, now has four victories in eight starts on the Calder lawn with a pair of seconds. The gray earned his ninth lifetime win in 25 races and boosted his earnings to $933,080 for owner Herman Heinlein.
"He runs well everywhere," Vivian said. "He liked Philadelphia, he liked Tampa (Bay Downs). At Philadelphia, he was last at the head of the stretch. He (Cruz) had him a little closer today, but he was still six wide on the turn. He gives everything he’s got."
Vivian said Soldier's Dancer could next run in the nine-furlong Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder on Dec. 6.
Franks Farm bred the winner in Florida. Out of the Gate Dancer mare Heather's Dancer's, Soldier's Dancer was a $4,200 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton November sale in 2004.
Sent off at odds of 11-10, Soldier's Dancer paid $4.20, $2.60 and $2.20, topping a $2 exacta worth $18. Wise River, coming off a win in the Carey Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hawthorne Sept. 27 for trainer Hanna Clark, returned $3.80 and $3. Fair Weather Stan was $5.20 to show.
Magic Mecke was followed by Mr. Silver, A.P. Magic, Quistopher, Serapi Cat, Justin Rules and Rexson's Rose. Honest Trip, It's a Bird, Greycliff Exchange, Marnesia's Big Boy and How's Your Halo scratched.
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