Tates Creek hit the finish line a head in front of Snow Dance.

Tates Creek hit the finish line a head in front of Snow Dance.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Tates Creek Wins Duel With Snow Dance

Juddmonte Farms' homebred Tates Creek won a stretch duel with Snow Dance as the 4-year-old daughter of Rahy posted a facile head victory in Thursday's Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Tates Creek steadily made up ground in the middle of the track after leaving the second turn and then dueled with the pacesetting Snow Dance through the stretch.

Snow Dance, who balked at being loaded into the gate, broke on top while being followed by Salty Farma, Lady of Peace, and Tates Creek. Ridden by Pat Day, Snow Dance continued to show the way while posting fractions of :24 1/5, :48 4/5, 1:12 4/5, and 1:36 2/5. Tates Creek stopped the timer in a final 1:42 1/5 for the 1 1/16 miles on grass. Step With Style finished third.

"I was worried the first 40 yards because she was gawking on the lead," Desormeaux said. "That told me I better get her back. It got a little hectic there, some trying moments from the half-mile pole to the quarter pole. I was all dressed up and had no place to go. (Jockey Pat) Day (on Snow Dance) let out a notch in front and it kind of presented a hole, so I just let her take off and she did the rest.

Tates Creek paid $6.20, $3.60, and $2.60, while Snow Dance was worth $3.00 and $2.20 and Step With Style paid $2.80.

Megans Bluff finished fourth, a head-length behind Step With Style. Quick Tip, Cozy Island, Salty Farma, Sitka, Lady of Peace, and Tabianka completed the order of finish.

The victory was the first in a graded race for Tates Creek, who is trained by Bobby Frankel. After finishing fifth in her career debut, the filly reeled off three consecutive victories before being sidelined following a victory in the Finlandia Handicap at Del Mar last August. In her first race back off the layoff, Tates Creek stumbled at the start and recovered to finish second in a mile grass test at Santa Anita. (Chart, Equibase)