Arlington Park turf specialist Chic Dancer produced her first graded stakes victory in Saturday's $150,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT), holding off the late-charging favorite Louve Royale and Minge Cove by a half-length Saturday.
The 5-year-old mare Chic Dancer won for the sixth time in 10 starts on the Arlington Park turf for top Chicago trainer Christine Janks and owner S.D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership, who bred her. The bay daughter of Joyeux Dancer was coming off a half-length win in the one-mile Reluctant Guest on the Arlington grass May 28.
The Modesty is the main local prep for the Beverly D. (gr. IT) at the same distance Aug. 12. Following the race, Janks said Chic Dancer will be there.
"We're going to swing for the fences," she said. "I told the owners a long time ago I was going to try and win the Beverly D. with her, and I'm a big believer in vision. But you have to see it to do it, and after the way she ran yesterday, she just seems to be getting better and better. I'm really proud of her. It was really a thrill to watch her win that race."
Making her first start at the 1 3/16-mile distance, Chic Dancer was well placed in third along the inside after breaking from the rail for jockey Chris Emigh. She raced well covered until slipping through along the rail to collar the pacesetter Round Heels in deep stretch. Chic Dancer was all out to hold on as Louve Royale, the 3-2 choice under Julien Leparoux charged from last of 10 after six furlongs to come up just short. She nosed Minge Cove and Shaun Bridgmohan for second. The final time was 1:57 2/5 on soft going.
Chic Dancer paid $18.40, $6.20 and $4.20 as the seventh choice. Louve Royale, who was coming off a third-place finish in Churchill's 1 1/16-mile Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) in similar fashion, returned $3 and $2.40. Minge Cove, trained by Scott Blasi, was $6.60 to show.
Round Heels, part of an entry with Royal Copenhagen, set fractions of :23 4/5, :48 1/5 and 1:14 1/5 and held on with determination before settling for fourth. Atlantic Frost, Royal Copenhagen, Cursora, Potra Clasica, Pleasant Quality and Modjadji completed the order.
The victory, worth $90,000, was the eighth in 18 lifetime starts for Chic Dancer, who is out of Stylish Accent, by Beau's Eagle. She has earned $255,031.
"I'm happy for (owners) Steve and Diana (Holland)," Janks said. "They always do right by their horses and they deserve this.
"I'm also happy for Chris," said Janks, referring to Emigh. "This filly has always been a trial to ride – she can do things to make the rider look bad, but Chris has always fit her very well."