Even-money choice Dancinginherdreams charged through an opening at the rail approaching mid-stretch and romped to victory under a patient Julien Leparoux in the $165,450 Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) on the opening day of the Churchill Downs fall meet Oct. 31 (VIDEO).
Dancinginherdreams, who won geared down by 5 1/4 lengths, certainly lived up to her billing on Churchill's "Stars of Tomorrow" card for 2-year-olds. Connections for those pre-entered in the Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), to be held Nov. 5 at Churchill, can be thankful they won't be facing the inexperienced daughter of Tapit --Mayan Milagra, by Menifee.
Owned by John Oxley and trained by John Ward Jr., the $330,000 Keeneland yearling purchase has won her two starts by a combined 10 1/4 lengths. The lighty-framed filly completed the one-turn mile over a fast track in 1:38.59, nearly matching the winning time posted by 2-year-old colt Astrology (1:38.43) in winning the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) two races earlier at Churchill.
“That’s the way she trains in the morning, so to see it come back and do it in the afternoon is pretty good," Ward said. "I thought the racetrack was very difficult today, but she obviously overcomes what’s in front of her. I wouldn’t call it easy but she handled everything well.
"We will see her again in Florida and she needs to put some meat on her bones. But that’s what you’re looking for and I think she will run as far you want her to go.”
Dancinginherdreams was reserved off the early pace as second choice Honey Chile led the field of seven through quarter-mile fractions of :22.75 and :46.59 while pushed along by Days Like This and Gran Lioness. The latter, advancing three wide, took over as the field reached six furlongs in 1:12.58 and led into the stretch. Dancinginherdreams was fifth rounding the bend but moving easily between horses behind the leaders and looking for room under the guidance of Leparoux.
The opening appeared in upper stretch and Dancinginherdreams charged for it when asked, taking the lead past the three-sixteenths pole. Past the eighth pole, Leparoux looked over his right shoulder for any threats and seeing none, hand rode the gray/roan filly to an impressive triumph.
"I was in tight and she had a great pull; she does everything good," Leparoux said. "Today she broke a little bit better.”
Eden Star, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, edged Missyoulikecrazy and Corey Lanerie by a half-length for second. Grand Lioness held on for fourth, followed by Days Like This, Switching Gears, and Honey Chile.
Bred in Kentucky by Nancy Shuford, Dancinginherdreams tallied by five lengths as the 3-2 favorite in her debut Oct. 10 at Keeneland going six furlongs over Polytrack.
Dancinginherdreams earned $100,529 for the Pocahontas victory and has now banked $124,529 in her brief career.
She carried 117 pounds and paid $4, $2.80, and $2.40, topping a $51 exacta. Maiden Eden Star, a daughter of Eddington who has placed in both of her starts to date for trainer Eric Reed, returned $9.20 and $5.40. Missyoulikecrazy, coming off a maiden win at Belmont Park in her second start for Eddie Kenneally, was $5.20 to show.