Tap Dance Steps to Bonnie Miss Victory

Tap Dance waltzed home by daylight to capture the 31st running of the Bonnie Miss Stakes (g. II) at Gulfstream Park March 16 under Jerry Bailey. With the win, Bailey set a track record, capturing his 13th stakes win at the meeting.

Tap Dance, owned and bred by Edward Evans in Kentucky, was trying graded company for the first time. The Mark Hennig trainee broke alertly in the nine-furlong contest, settling in second behind Halo Reality.

Into the clubhouse turn, however, the 3-year-old daughter of Pleasant Tap rushed to the lead and opened up three lengths as they hit the backstretch. Clipping along at a steady pace, Tap Dance went a half-mile in :47 2/5 and six furlongs in in 1:11 3/5, and was unthreatened the rest of the way, stopping the clock in 1:52 flat. Halo Reality held the place, with even-money favorite Unbridled Lassie third and Indy Glory fourth.

The $150,000 first prize puts Tap Dance just under $200,000 for her eight-race career. She entered the Bonnie Miss off a sixth-place finish in the Gaily Gaily March 2. She has won three times. Tap Dance returned $15.40, $7, and $3.60. Halo Reality was worth $8 and $4.40, and Unbridled Lassie paid $2.40 to show.

Earlier on the Gulfstream card, 2000 Florida Derby (g. I) winner Hal's Hope won a $100,000 optional claiming contest over Tarquinius and Tahkodha Hills.