Belmont Stakes Contenders
Black-Eyed Susan Day
Preakness Thursday Photos
Jockey Xavier Perez celebrates aboard Dance to Bristol after winning the Ballerina Stakes.
Kicking off the graded stakes action on Travers weekend, a field of 10 older fillies and mares (after the late scratch of Judy the Beauty) sprinted 7 furlongs on Friday afternoon in the $500,000 Ballerina Stakes (G1), a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" event for the Filly and Mare Sprint. 22,215 were on hand under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70's. A Gleam Handicap (G2) winner Book Review was sent off as the 3-2 favorite. In to challenge her included 7-4 second choice Dance to Bristol, winner of her last 6 including the Honorable Miss (G2), and 11-2 third choice Starship Truffles, winner of the Princess Rooney (G1).
Down the stretch in the Ballerina.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Dance to Bristol Perez 5.50 3.10 2.50 5 Book Review Bejarano 2.90 2.40 2 Villanesca Velazquez 4.50 Winning Time: 1:23.11 $2 Exacta 1-5 16.20 $2 Trifecta 1-5-2 109.00 $2 Superfecta 1-5-2-4 1,939.00
Left: Dance to Bristol in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Ollie Figgins III said, "Her will to win is what makes her special. Book Review had dead aim on her inside the eighth pole. Once she saw her coming, she just wouldn't let her by. She broke nice and clean and Xavier just let her get her rhythm. She eased to the outside a little past the 1/2 mile pole, it looked like, and everything went pretty smooth. We knew we had a good horse, and we were hopeful."
Right: Dance to Bristol heads back to the barn after the race. Jockey Xavier Perez said, "I put her right behind the leaders and she just dropped the bit and got comfortable. When I asked her at the 5/16 to move, she responded pretty good and gave me 100% and just kept going. When she felt that horse, Book Review, coming on the outside, she just kept digging in. It worked out perfect, because the speed went. I was the only one that was right behind them. I looked outside and I was clear, so I started drifting out a little bit until I got the position where I wanted to be where I was sure nobody was going to come around me."
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Book Review returns after the race. Jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "I put my horse into position and followed the winner the whole race. I had an opportunity to pass her in the stretch, but the other horse never quit."
Right: Third place finisher Villanesca in the paddock before the race. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, "We're happy. We wanted to win, but we'll take third. It was a great run, excellent ride, and we're happy we got third. It got a little tight, but (jockey John Velazquez) didn't have enough horse to stay up in there."
Beaten favorite The Lumber Guy in the post parade. The favorite stalked the pace under jockey John Velazquez but could not contain the winner. The Mike Hushion trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds in 10 starts, earning $756,300 for owner Barry K. Schwartz.
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