LITTLE DANCER PREVAILS IN OAKS SURPRISE
AUBURN, Wash. (July 23, 2017) – Little Dancer wore down Daddyalwayssays in the final strides and scored a giant upset in the $75,000 Washington Oaks for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Emerald Downs.
The longest shot on the board, Little Dancer ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.05 and paid $27.40, $10.40 and $6. Rocco Bowen rode the winner at 121 lbs for trainer Doris Harwood and owner Ron Schmid of Seattle.
Daddyalwayssays nearly stole the race on the front end, setting fractions of :23.85, :49.11, 1:13.09 and 1:37.48, but a resilient Little Dancer fought back and finally won a stretch-long battle for a half-length victory.
Daddyalwayssays, ridden by Javier Matias at 121 lbs, paid $5.60 and $6, while Reginella, ridden by Julien Couton at 121 lbs, was head back in third and paid $7.80.
Blazinbeauty, second choice at 5-2, and Top Quality, the prohibitive 1-2 favorite, finished fourth and fifth in the five-horse field.
Little Dancer became the fourth different 3-year-old filly to win a stakes in this year’s four-race sophomore filly series, and she picked the perfect time to score. The Oaks wins is worth $41,250 and bumped her career mark to 3-0-0 in five starts with earnings of $58,922.
A Kentucky-bred by Successful Appeal-Jack’s Little Girl, Little Dancer began the season as a maiden, but she defeated $15,000 maiden claimers at odds of 19-1 and first-level allowance runners at 11-1 before finishing fifth while routing for the first time in the Irish Day Stakes.
Picking up Bowen, Emerald Downs’ leading rider, and getting an additional furlong of real estate, pushed Little Dancer over the top. Positioned much closer to the pace than normal, Little Dancer challenged Daddyalwayssays on the last turn and the two fillies slugged it out through the lane, with Reginella flying late for third.
“It’s a horse race, anything can happen, but I had confidence in this horse,” Bowen said of Little Dancer.
Harwood is No. 1 all-time with 67 stakes wins at Emerald Downs, including three Oaks victories.
Top Quality, dominant in the Irish Day Stakes, was wide on the last turn but failed to mount a rally.
Alliford Bay, winner of the Seattle Stakes, and Risque’s Legacy, triumphant in the Kent Stakes, both sat out Sunday’s race. Alliford Bay defeated older fillies and mares Saturday in the $50,000 Governor’s Cup Handicap at Sacramento. Trained by Blaine Wright and ridden by Irving Orozco, the 3-year-old City Zip filly ran six furlongs in 1:09.54.
JUAN GUTIERREZ SIDELINED AFTER SATURDAY MISHAP
Of the three jockeys that went down in the sixth race Saturday, only Juan Gutierrez is expected to be out for any length of time. Gutierrez, No. 2 all-time with 1,320 wins at Emerald Downs, sustained a lower spine injury and is expected to miss four to six weeks of action. The other two riders involved in the multi-horse pile-up, Eliska Kubinova and apprentice David Martin, were off their mounts Sunday but expected to resume riding next week.
Signorina Ermenia, the horse that started the chain reaction spill, sustained a broken leg and was euthanized, while I’z a Sweet Ride and Current Sea Xpress escaped serious injury and are expected to race again.
NOTES: Bowen recorded his 14th three-win day of the season and leads Kevin Orozco 79-42 atop the riders’ standings. . .Bowen, Julien Couton, Isaias Enriquez and Gutierrez are tied for most stakes wins with two apiece. . .Winter Knight ($22.40) debuted with a sharp victory for Q Stable and Bonnie Jenne in the $18,500 maiden special weight for 2-year-olds. By Harbor the Gold-Silver City Lilly, the winner is a full brother to stakes winners Carrabelle Harbor and Catalina Harbor. . .Trainer David Martinez pulled off an unusual exacta in Sunday’s second race for 2-year-old fillies, with Runmissnatalia ($33.40) prevailing as the longest shot on the board while Cappuccino Time finished second as the 6-to-5 betting favorite. . . In an oddity, Emerald Downs ran three straight 2-year-old races, and all three were won by long shots—Runmissnatalia, Winter Knight and Shylock Eddie ($22.40)—and a $0.50 Pick 3 was worth $1,032. . .Sunday’s 10 races produced a season-high seven double digit payoffs. . .No Flies On Doodle, dam of Runmissnatalia was the 2009 Washington Oaks winner. . .2-year-old filly Bella Blaze, younger sister of Little Dancer, also won this weekend in her career debut for Harwood. . . Live racing resumes Friday with first post 6:30 p.m., and features carryovers of $8,058 in the $0.50 Pick 5 and $2,202 in the $0.20 Pick 7.