Dancing Forever glided to the rail midstretch in the June 7 Woodford Reserve Manhattan (gr. IT) (VIDEO) and looked like a winner, but Out of Control was ready to give him a tussle in the final yards. In a thriller to the finish, it was Dancing Forever who became a grade I winner in the $400,000 Manhattan with his nose decision over Out of Control in the 1 1/4-mile turf race at Belmont Park.
With Rene Douglas in the saddle, Dancing Forever raced comfortably in last for the first half-mile. Shake the Bank, the rabbit for entrymate Better Talk Now, set fractions of 24.11, 47.94, 1:11.43, and 1:35.38.
As the field turned for home, Dancing Forever was mounting a serious rally, and emerged with the lead in the final sixteenth of a mile. Out of Control came with a powerful rush from the outside, and it was a head bob that decided the finish. Dancing Forever was racing on the rail and wearing blinkers, but the winner appeared to sense Out of Control to his outside, and dug deeper.
Out of Control, the 3-1 favorite, finished a half-length in front Pays to Dream, who was vanned off the turf course after the race. Pays to Dream won the Dixie Handicap (gr.IIT) at Pimlco in his last start May 17. It was another length back to Strike a Deal in fourth.
The order of finish was completed by Better Talk Now, Interpatation, Shake the Bank, Cougar Bay, Shakis, Stream of Gold, Proudinsky, and Stalingrad.
“I got along with this horse," Douglas said. "I guess it’s a good match. I know he’s been getting better in each of his races. I was a little bit scared of being outside. Coming into the first turn I didn’t want to be racing wide. So, I immediately went to the rail and took my time with him. Turing for home, we saw an open spot and he took off.”
The final time was 1:59.62 over a firm course. The winner returned $10.40, $4.70, and $4. The exacta returned $40.80. The trifecta paid $382.
Dancing Forever is trained by Shug McGaughey for owner-breeder, Phipps Stable. A 5-year-old son of Rahyand the Seeking the Gold mare, Dancinginmydreams, Dancing Forever won the Elkhorn (gr.IIT) at Keeneland in his last start April 25. The Elkhorn was Dancing Forever’s first graded win.
In February, Dancing Forever nearly got his initial grade I win in the Gulfstream Park Turf, but was beaten a neck by Einstein, who was forced to miss the Manhattan because of a state licensing issue with one of his owners.
Phipps and McGaughey won the 2005 Manhattan with Good Reward. With his win, Dancing Forever has earnings of $587,870, and a record of 5-6-2 in 19 starts.
“He’s one of those horses that just came around," McGaughey said. "He’s a great big horse. Everything is getting better for him. I thought he would have a big chance. When he ran second to Einstein at Gulfstream at equal weights at 37-1, that showed me something. He’ll either go in the Man o’War or the Sword Dancer.”