Dance Smartly Stakes (Grade 2)- $175.000 Purse
WO- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Quarter on the Turf
June 27, 2020
It is an exciting day at WO this Saturday, and not only because of the Queens Plate at the end of the card. Leading up to the race, we’ll have an opportunity to see some quality stakes as well. The Dance Smartly Stakes is a great event that figures to be mentioned often when we talk about the BC Fillies and Mares Turf later in the year. Its ten furlong distance is intriguing, and it has attracted a field of nine horses looking to make a statement just prior to the beginning of the more dedicated BC push in this division. Three of the last four races have seen it won by a three year old, and that was the case for Festive, the 2019 winner for Mb Stables. She was retired within the last two months and never actually won another stake after this. Perhaps the fate will be better for the winner this year, so let’s meet the field!
#1- Sweetness (High Voltage, ridden by F Prat)- There are three horses in this field that are coming out of the Grade 1 Gamely out at SA last month. Of those, Sweetness was the best finisher, crossing the line fourth, but was never a factor for the win. She has two big wins at that track this year, one being the CA Cup Oaks, and the other the Grade 3 Providencia. It also always seems like she goes off at high odds, so maybe she will get a little more respect up here at WO. Should like the tenth furlong, and in a very balanced without a standout, I am timidly making her my pick to win.
#2- Bagina (Chili King Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- At the beginning of the month, she was seen in the Grade 1 Just A Game at BEL, and ran fourth. That’s a shorter race, but she was coming on at the end. You can look back a little further in her history to the Grade 3 Very One, run a mile and 3/16, and it was a flat race line. One of three older horses in this field, and that means she carries five more pounds. As a horse that has not been able to step up to stake quality opposition when given chances, adding in the factor means that I will pass.
#3- Steinbrenner (Aer Stables, ridden by J Lezcano)- Any horse named this should be exhibiting a ton of class and dignity on the race track. The Bronx Bomber filly is not a 27-time race winner yet, and the trainer will settle for just one stake win. She ran well leading up to making her stake debut in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride, and has been decent, though lacking a win. Playing in front of loyal New York fans at AQU, she ran third in the Memories Of Silver. The trainer demands wins, as we know. Who does that sounds like in baseball, by the way?
#4- Early Mornings (Mb Stables, ridden by J Bisono)- This filly by Indistinguishable has been very productive in her career, winning five of her nine races, and comes into this race on a three race winning streak. She has not really been tested that hard by Mb Stables yet, but now the trainer is sending her out there to impress. Her last effort came in the $100.000 LS Turf Stakes, and she won in a dead heat (with Deep Atonement, who by the way is in post #8) on soft turf. It is not officially her graded debut, but it’s been a while. She will be a factor here.
#5- High Ended (Fractious, ridden by A Beschizza)- An experienced runner not only at the graded level, but in high ended Grade 1’s such as the American Oaks and the Wiley. That was before she would run in the Grade 1 Gamely last month, and she just did not show up that day. Her biggest win to date came in February at SA, in the Buena Vista Stakes, where she was able to defeat La Terrifiant, the reigning BC champion. So, the flashes of brilliance have been there, but she also must contend with the five pound weight disadvantage for being one of the older horses, and that will be a tough obstacle.
#6- Shes A Native (Mb Stables, ridden by Mar Garcia)- The third horse in this field that comes out of the Grade 1 Gamely. For Shes A Native, the race saw her stalk the pace, but be unable to finish as strong as others, and run fifth. It ended a three race winning streak. She has been best while running a mile, so the easy conclusion would be that she didn’t like the ninth furlong of that race, but with her adding more distance here, that is not a problem at all for her. I don’t ever doubt moves of this trainer!
#7- Nude Beach (Aer Stables, ridden by M Tunon)- In her younger days, Nude Beach would always run on the grass, but last summer and two trainers ago that all stopped. Aer Stables picked her up in the September 2019 auction and scored a couple graded victories with her on the main track, including the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap. In Aer silks, she has never failed to hit the board, and with a little more luck, she could be riding a six-race winning streak into the Dance Smartly. She would be my pick to win if she did not have to deal with the five pound weight disadvantage. I still expect the five year old mare to run well.
#8- Deep Atonement (Nakamura Stables, ridden by R M Hernandez)- Mentioned her earlier in this preview with Early Mornings, since the two of them finished in a dead heat in their last start, the LS Turf on soft ground. It was the stake debut for this filly, a horse that had run well in overnights at GG and TAM pretty consistently. Overall, she has won five of ten, so she knows how to get it done. Now that she is growing, she is one to watch of that progress continues, and this is a good test for her against many similar horses. It is also interesting to see who wins the battle between her and Early Mornings as the race within the race, because they both have the same look as an up and coming horse.
#9- Envy (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- We saw her here at the start of the month in the $500.000 WO Oaks for Canadians, but she did not make much of an impression. That’s fine, because now she goes back to the turf, where she has been more productive. She has won four of her five races on the grass, with the most recent triumph two starts ago at the Grade 3 Gallorette at PIM. We can throw out the WO Oaks now, and see if Envy can redeem herself on this track.