October 7, 2016
Dancing Rags (Union Rags) stepped up in a big way off a maiden victory at Laurel to pull a 12-1 upset in the GI Darley Alcibiades S. at Keeneland and punch her ticket to the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.
“I felt it was an open race,” winning trainer Graham Motion said. “She just seemed to have done really well since her maiden win at Laurel and progressively kept improving. This is the time of year when you’ve got to take a shot.”
Owner Phyllis Wyeth also campaigned the winner’s freshman sire Union Rags to a win in the 2012 GI Belmont S. and a narrow runner-up finish in the prior year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
“We’ll talk to Mrs. Wyeth [about the Breeders’ Cup], but we’ve got to think about it,” Motion added when asked what was next for Dancing Rags.
Third in a turf sprint at Laurel on debut Aug. 5, Dancing Rags graduated by 1 3/4 lengths when switched to the main track going a mile there Sept. 17. Adding Lasix for this start, Dancing Rags broke alertly to track the pace from third along the inside early. Holding that spot, 1 1/2 lengths off splits of :23.72 and :47.43, Dancing Rags took dead aim on the pacesetter heading into the far bend, was given her cue by Angel Cruz passing the three-eighths pole, took charge into the lane and held off a strong closing bid from GII Pocahontas S. victress Daddys Lil Darling (Scat Daddy), drawn widest of all in post 14, for a one-length success. Fun (Harlan’s Holiday) was third.
“I had a great trip,” Cruz said after guiding home his first Grade I winner. “I was in a good position, and the horse did her job. I cruised home to victory. I had plenty of horse the whole time. She gave me it all.”
Dancing Rags is the second Grade I winner from the first crop of Classic winner Union Rags and the second black-type winner out of Home Court (Storm Cat), a $650,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase who was third in the GIII Iowa Oaks in 2004. Retired thereafter, the daughter of 1996 Eclipse Award-winning older female and GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine Jewel Princess (Key to the Mint) was offered carrying her first foal by Gone West at the 2005 Keeneland November Sale and was hammered down to Canadian businessman A. Gordon Stollery’s AGS Thoroughbreds for $1.4 million. Stollery died suddenly in late 2011 and Home Court was sold to Larkin Armstrong for $110,000 in foal to Lookin at Lucky at Keeneland November in 2012. Two months prior, the mare’s yearling colt by Tapit fetched $300,000 from Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms at the Keeneland September sale. Coup de Grace celebrated his best year at the races at three, with a victory in the GII Amsterdam S. and a third-place effort in the GI King’s Bishop S. and now stands at Klawevlei Stud in South Africa as the property of Gainesway and Highlands Stud. Home Court is the dam of a yearling colt by Tiznow and was most recently covered by Constitution.