John Oxley's grade 1-winning homebred Dream Dancing schools in the paddock at Keeneland

John Oxley's grade 1-winning homebred Dream Dancing schools in the paddock at Keeneland

Keeneland/Coady Photography

Dream Dancing Looks to Rebound in Suwannee River Stakes

Grade 1 winner heads 1 1/8-mile Gulfstream Park test.

John Oxley's grade 1-winning homebred Dream Dancing, beaten as the favorite in her 4-year-old debut last month, will face fellow graded stakes winners Ultra Brat, Kitten's Roar, and Midnight Crossing in the $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes (G3T) Feb. 10 at Gulfstream Park.

The 1 1/8-mile Suwannee River for older fillies and mares on the grass is one of the oldest stakes on the Gulfstream calendar. It was first run in 1947 and is predated by only the Fountain of Youth (G2), which debuted in 1945, and the Mr. Prospector (G3), which began in 1946.

Dream Dancing won both of her previous starts at Gulfstream last winter, including her first stakes victory in the Herecomesthebride (G3T), before she went on to capture the Del Mar Oaks (G1T) five months later.

BALAN: Dream Dancing Edges Beau Recall in Del Mar Oaks

The Tapit  filly went unraced for three months following an off-the-board finish in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup Stakes presented by Lane's End (G1T) heading into the Marshua's River (G3T) Jan. 13 at Gulfstream, where she stalked a slow pace and made a late bid on the outside to finish second, 1 3/4 lengths behind Ultra Brat.

"She had a good work the other day and she's had a good month since her previous start. I think she was a little pace compromised last time, and I think she'll run a much better race this time," said Norm Casse, consultant to trainer Mark Casse. "I think we had her ready. A lot of times we get disappointed if I didn't think we had her ready. We had her ready. It was more of a bad pace scenario for her and we'll learn from our mistake.

"It's going to be a tough race. They're always tough races, but she's doing well and she always seems to run well when she's doing well, so we've got a lot of confidence going into the race."

Ultra Brat has won each of her two starts at Gulfstream, dating back to the Tropical Park Oaks in December of 2016. The 5-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo  didn't race again until she finished fourth in the six-furlong Autumn Keys in November at Aqueduct Racetrack, and stretched out to 1 1/16 miles for her professional Marshua's River score.

Though the first three of her five wins came at sprint distances, Ultra Brat's most recent victories have been over a route of ground, both in stakes. The Suwannee River will be her longest test to date.

"I think she's run two big races when she's run at Gulfstream, which kind of makes me reluctant to take her anywhere else. I do worry a little bit about the mile and an eighth," said trainer Graham Motion. "I'm not sure that's something she's looking to do, but perhaps she has a better chance at getting a mile and an eighth at Gulfstream, where it's kind of fast and firm.

"I don't really particularly see anything that makes me think she won't. I always thought of her as more of a sprinting type earlier and she won sprinting. I'm just slightly suspect about it, but you never know until you try it, right?"

Motion also entered Wertheimer and Frere's English-bred Tapit mare Westit, who enters off a seventh-place finish in the 7 1/2-furlong South Beach Jan. 27 at Gulfstream.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Roar will make her 6-year-old debut in the Suwannee River, her first race since she finished eighth in the one-mile Matriarch (G1T) Nov. 26 at Del Mar. She became a graded winner in her previous start, a 2 1/4-length triumph in the Goldikova Stakes (G2T), run at the same track and distance.

Kitten's Roar, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, finished in the money in six of nine starts and earned $563,655 in 2017. She also finished second in the E.P. Taylor (G1T) during the fall at Woodbine and was beaten 1 1/2 lengths (fourth) in the Jenny Wiley (G1T) at Keeneland in the spring.

"We just wanted to freshen her up a little bit. She had a hard campaign and we wanted to give her a little bit of time," said trainer Mike Maker.

Kitten's Roar has run at 11 tracks in her 20 starts and returns to Gulfstream for just the second time. She won her debut at Gulfstream in April of 2015 for previous trainer Chad Brown.

"She's very professional and handles everything in stride. I'd like to have a barn full of them, that's for sure," Maker said. "She's run well at a mile and eighth in the past and I have no reason to think she won't again. I think if she can get a stalking position, I think that's more favorable for her. You can place her wherever you need her."

Entries: Suwannee River S. (G3T)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, February 10, 2018, Race 10

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $150,000
  • 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 4:43 PM (local)
11Westit (GB)Edgard J. Zayas117H. Graham Motion20/1
22Beauly (GB)Feargal Lynch117Brendan P. Walsh15/1
33Midnight Crossing (IRE)Keeneland Sales GraduateEmisael Jaramillo123Richard Baltas6/1
44Flipcup (NY)Tyler Gaffalione119William I. Mott15/1
55Dream Dancing (KY)Julien R. Leparoux123Mark E. Casse9/2
66Ultra Brat (KY)Nik Juarez123H. Graham Motion8/1
77Dream Awhile (KY)Irad Ortiz, Jr.121Chad C. Brown10/1
88Elysea's World (IRE)Javier Castellano117Chad C. Brown7/2
99Kitten's Roar (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateLuis Saez123Michael J. Maker2/1