A 5-year-old son of Rahy, Dancing Forever covered the 1 ½ miles over the Haggin turf course in 2:29.74 under Rene Douglas. It was his fourth win in 18 lifetime starts and first graded stakes score. The Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey trainee entered the race off a neck defeat to Einstein in the Feb. 23 Gulfstream Park Turf (gr. IT), which was his first start of the season.
A Kentucky homebred, Dancing Forever is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Dancinginmydreams.
Drilling for Oil, who hit the lead entering the final turn and led into the stretch under Kent Desormeaux, finished second, 2 ½ lengths in front of Brass Hat. Betting favorite Stream of Gold was fourth in a field of 11.
Desormeaux took Drilling for Oil to the front in a pedestrian :26.47 opening quarter, but soon allowed Bee Charmer to take the lead. Under Shaun Bridgmohan, Bee Charmer continued the modest pace through a :51.80 half, 1:16.47 three-quarters, and 1:41.29 mile. French Vintage and Transduction Gold were also up close.
Drilling for Oil regained the top spot around the final turn, but felt the pressure of both Dancing Forever and Stream of Gold as they straightened away. Dancing Forever found another gear and put away both rivals in the final sixteenth.
“He’s a really kind horse. Since I started riding him last year, it took me one time to get to know him,” Douglas said. “Every time, he’s been running better and better. Today, I had a good trip. I just had patience. He’s a horse who gets better with distance.”
McGaughey said: “He kind of turned a corner last fall, and all of his races since then have been good. He just got beat in a grade I to a very good horse in Einstein.
“Rene ran a great race. The pace was slow, he saved all the ground and swung him to the outside, and he was good enough to win. He wants to run a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half.”
Going off at 4-1, Dancing Forever paid $10.60, $5.20, and $4. The exacta was worth $69.60, while the $1 trifecta netted $305.
Dancing Forever’s most recent victory came last December in the Our Dear Peg on the Calder Race Course turf.
Silverfoot was fifth, followed by Embossed, True Cause, French Vintage, Pellegrino, Transduction Gold, and Bee Charmer.
A Lukas Sighting
The Keeneland meet would not have been complete without a winner’s circle sighting from Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. With the last of his 12 starters in Lexington this fall, Lukas found his winner in race 8 with 3-year-old filly Tazarine, who went off as the longest shot in a six-horse allowance field.
Ridden by Jamie Theriot, Highclere Stables’ Tazarine pulled away from Spoken in the stretch to light up the tote board at 20-1. It was the Cat Thief filly’s first effort on Polytrack and first win since breaking her maiden Jan. 7 at Gulfstream Park.
“We didn’t run as many horses over here as we normally do,” Lukas said. “We stayed an extra week at Oaklawn this year. We evaluated the Polytrack a little and tried to pick horses that had an affinity for it. Of course, this filly—our only winner—didn’t train here. Go figure.
“That’s the problem (with Polytrack). It’s hard to get a line on which ones like the surface and which don’t. We’re in a learning curve here, no doubt.”
A winner of a record four Kentucky Derbys, but without an entry this year, Lukas was asked who he liked May 3. “Well, I think the superfecta will be huge, put it that way,” he smiled.
The Keeneland fall meet closed with runaway winners in both the jockey and trainer standings.
Kent Desormeaux continued his tremendous resurgence by guiding 22 winners, easily besting runner-up John Velazquez, who had 15 winners for the meet, to earn his first Keeneland riding title. Desormeaux rode two winners on the final day.
Todd Pletcher won his second Keeneland training title with 14 victories, six more than runner-up Bill Mott. The nation’s top conditioner also saddled a pair of winners to close out the meet.
Overbrook Farm and G. Watts Humphrey Jr. shared the owners’ title with four victories apiece.
Pick Six…or Pick Five of Six
The meet also closed without anyone hitting the pick six, which entered closing day with a carryover of $375,412 and reached more than $1.7 million by the start of the fifth race. Since the pool had to be paid out on the final day, owners of tickets that had five of six correct walked away with $25,970 apiece.