In her last two races, the comely chestnut sprinter, Dance to Bristol, hasn’t even bothered to toy with the competition. She simply ran off and left the other fillies and mares when winning both the $200,000 Sugar Maple Stakes at Charles Town and the $100,000 Skipat Stakes at Pimlico.
[cleeng_content id="571346268" description="Read it now!" price="0.15" t="article"]Though she is based at Bowie in Maryland, the streaking mare is trained by Charles Town fixture, Ollie Figgins, III.
The 4-year-old Dance to Bristol’s latest stakes successes pushed her win streak to four and left her with six wins in 14 lifetime starts. Her only fourth-place finish is still the one time she was worse than third in any race.
Xavier Perez is a perfect 4-for-4 as her rider. He only started to ride her in February of this year, and hasn’t lost.
The conformation-perfect mare was acquired at auction as a 2-year-old in training for $42,000. Her earnings have now reached to over $350,000.
She was bred in Kentucky by David Garner and his wife, who paid the $60,000 stud fee to WinStar Farm for the services of Speightstown, a long-time producer of high quality sprinters.
Dance to Bristol’s mother is Dance to Dawn, who had her share of wins when competing on the race track.
Both Speightstown and Dance to Dawn have Bold Ruler, Native Dancer, Northern Dancer and Nasrullah as strong branches on their family trees.
Speightstown’s progeny often gross $11 to $12 million a year in earnings.
Dance to Bristol is now owned by Copperville Farm in nearby Fairfield, Pa.
Nearly all of her 15 lifetime races have been at either Charles Town or Laurel Park in the Baltimore area. She has raced twice at Aqueduct in New York and once at both Parx near Philadelphia and Pimlico.
She has never been tried in a sprint of over seven furlongs. That was the distance in the Sugar Maple at Charles Town where she literally waltzed to a nine-length win
After being purchased at auction in 2011, she finally got her first taste of live racing on Sept. 11 of that year. The signature 4 1/2 furlong sprint distance at Charles Town was her first actual race. Her debut and her possibilities were not secrets to many of the inside workers and stablehands at Charles Town and she was made the betting favorite with 8-5 odds.
Dance to Bristol didn’t have Perez as her rider that early fall evening, and although she closed well, was beaten by a nose.
She had five races at age two and five more at age three.
Perez had ridden her twice without defeat or mishap when she came into the Sugar Maple Stakes on April 13. The major commotion that night centered around Game On Dude and the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic.
The Sugar Maple was the most-watched of the races on the undercard that evening.
Said jockey Perez: “When I got on her in the paddock, I knew she was a different horse that night than times before. She was 100 percent. When we hit the track she started bouncing.”
The seven-furlong Sugar Maple had Holiday Soiree as the 6-5 favorite and Dance to Bristol was the 13-10 second-favorite.
After staying close to the pace in a comfortable third position, the tall and sinewy mare moved quickly to a breakaway lead and literally coasted through the last 100 yards to a jaw-dropping nine-length win.
“When we got to the three-eighths pole, where my trainer told me to let her go, I just let her roll and she did it,” Perez said. “She did an amazing job.”
In winning the Skipat Stakes at six furlongs at Pimlico the afternoon before the Preakness Stakes, Dance to Bristol used the same “stalk and then pounce” strategy that was successful in the Sugar Maple. She blew past the leaders on the last turn and barreled through the stretch to win easily. She was in hand at the end.
Her rising reputation proceeded her and her odds were only 3-5.
It was her fourth straight win.
Trainer Figgins, III responded, “It set up good for us with Winning Image scratched out of the race. I just kind of told Xavier to keep it close and that’s how it worked out. This horse is real easy to train. Even in defeat, she’s run awfully hard. Xavier feels strong anout this horse because she’s an easy one to ride. She’ll run in the Bed O’ Roses Handicap at Belmont on June 15 if she comes out OK. Three weeks won’t be a problem.”
The Bed O’ Roses is a seven-furlong sprint.
Dance to Bristol was able to have her beginning at Charles Town and then go elsewhere to win a graded stakes.
Her four straight wins should carry some weight even among the hardened bettors at Belmont Park.
She’ll probably be back at Charles Town when other six-figure stakes races beckon.
But for now, the striking chestnut is helping Charles Town’s reputation by winning “on the road.”[/cleeng_content]