Dancing in Silks, who has been winless since his nose victory 2009 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita, will get a chance to redeem himself with a new trainer and jockey in the Feb. 27 Sensational Star Handicap over the California track’s hillside turf course.
The 6-year-old son of Black Minnaloushe, who was recently transferred from trainer Carla Gaines to Kathy Walsh, will be ridden for the first time by jockey Garrett Gomez in the $100,000 Sensational Star for California-breds at 6 1/2 furlongs. The bay gelding’s previous regular rider was Joel Rosario.
Owned by Ken Kinakin, Dancing in Silks won his only previous start on grass, a five-furlong optional claimer at Del Mar during the summer of 2009.
That score launched a four-race winning streak under Joel Rosario that was climaxed by the 25-1 stunner in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup event as Dancing in Silks nosed out Crown of Thorns. In his next five starts, however, Dancing in Silks failed to find the winner’s circle and seems to have regressed with each succeeding race.
In the meantime, Sensational Star opponents Amazombie and Quick Enough have blossomed. Amazombie, co-owned and trained by Bill Spawr, who conditioned Sensational Star, has won six of his last eight sprints, four on turf, during the decline of Dancing in Silks. Trainer Doug O’Neill’s Quick Enough has won three of eight, including last year’s Morvich Handicap (gr. III). Overall, the 7-year-old gelding has captured 6 of his last 14 sprints.
Likely favorite Amazombie will carry high weight of 122 pounds and break from post 9 with regular rider Mike Smith in the irons. The 5-year-old Northern Afleet gelding is coming off an 11-1 upset in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita on Jan. 29 for his first takes victory. His overall mark of 6-3-2 in 15 starts has generated earnings of $308,708 for Spawr and partner Tom Sanford. Amazombie has won 4 of 11 starts on turf.
Quick Enough, a 7-year-old gelding who began his career in the barn of Gaines in 2007, has been claimed three times since then. O’Neill took the son of High Brite for $40,000 last summer at Del Mar. He won the Morvich two starts later with Patrick Valenzuela aboard for the first time. Quick Enough, assigned 121 pounds, chased Amazombie when sixth in the Sunshine Millions Sprint.
He will bring career earnings of $315,360 from a 7-5-3 record in 18 starts into the Sensational Star. Owned by Michael Bello, Russell Sarno and Suarez Racing, Quick Enough has posted a mark of 4-3-2 in 10 starts on grass. Valenzuela rides from post No. 3.
Dancing in Silks will carry 120 pounds while debuting for a new trainer and a new jockey. He drew post position No. 4. Dancing in Silks has earned $1,475,102 from an overall record of 7-2-3 in 18 races.
The complete field for the $100,000 Sensational Star Handicap, with jockeys and weights in post position order:
1. J P Jammer, Martin Garcia, 114
2. Nikki’sgoldensteed, no rider, 113
3. Quick Enough, Patrick Valenzuela, 121
4. Dancing in Silks, Garrett Gomez, 120
5. Hot Damon, Joel Rosario, 113
6. Korban, Victor Espinoza, 113
7. Colgan’s Chip, Brice Blanc, 117
8. Cayambe, Rafael Bejarano, 119
9. Amazombie, Mike Smith, 122
10. Earnednevergiven, David Flores, 118.