LEXINGTON, KY (April 12, 2014) – Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing’s Dance With Fate swept past pace-setting Pablo Del Monte at midstretch and had more than enough to hold off Medal Count by 1 3/4 lengths to win the 90th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) for 3-year-olds before a sun-splashed crowd of 39,722 at Keeneland on Saturday.
Dance With Fate gave trainer Peter Eurton his first Toyota Blue Grass victory and second Keeneland stakes victory, the other coming in the Lexus Raven Run (G2) last fall with Madame Cactus.
Corey Nakatani picked up his seventh Keeneland stakes victory and first in the Toyota Blue Grass.
The victory gave Dance With Fate 100 points toward the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) and secured a spot in the starting gate May 3 should the connections opt to enter. Dance With Fate has 108 points and Medal Count picked up his first 40 points with his runner-up finish.
Pablo Del Monte earned 20 points for third and Big Bazinga 10 for fourth.
The victory was worth $450,000 and increased Dance With Fate’s earnings to $680,050 with a record of 8-3-3-0.
Dance With Fate is a Florida-bred son of Two Step Salsa out of the Saint Ballado mare Flirting With Fate.
Pablo Del Monte, ridden by Victor Espinoza, led the field of 14 through fractions of :23.58, :47.59 and 1:12.74 while under token pressure. Nakatani had Dance With Fate in midpack in the run down the backstretch.
Pablo Del Monte kicked clear at the head of the stretch while Nakatani had Dance With Fate moving to third in the clear. Dance With Fate took charge at midstretch and coasted to the wire to complete the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.06.
Dance With Fate returned $14.80, $6.80 and $5.80. Medal Count, ridden by Robby Albarado, paid $7.80 and $5.20 with Pablo Del Monte returning $6.80 to show.
It was 5¼ lengths back to Big Bazinga in fourth. Completing the field in order were Coltimus Prime, Gala Award, So Lonesome, Asserting Bear, Casiguapo, Coastline, Extrasexyhippzster, favored Bobby’s Kitten, Harry’s Holiday and Vinceremos.
Earlier on Saturday’s 12-race program, Robert Trussell’s Occasional View and Martin Racing Stable’s Marchman earned Grade 3 victories with triumphs in the $175,000 Commonwealth and $100,000 Shakertown, respectively.
In the Commonwealth, Occasional View collared the pace-setting Dimension (GB) inside the sixteenth pole and drew off to win by a length under Alan Garcia for trainer Ken McPeek. It was the first win in the race for both Garcia and McPeek.
Occasional View, who covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.77 over the main track, is a 6-year-old, Canadian-bred son of Silver Deputy out of the Rahy mare Celebrate. The victory was worth $105,000 and improved Occasional View’s earnings to $339,765 with a record of 20-6-1-4.
Occasional View returned $11, $5.60 and $3.20. Dimension, ridden by James Graham, returned $8 and $5 and finished 1¾ lengths in front of favored Laugh Track, who paid $2.80 to show under Jose Lezcano.
Quiet Force finished fourth and was followed in order by Undrafted, Longhunter (GB), Piquant, Big Blue Spirit (GB), Gunderson and Spring to the Sky.
In the Shakertown, Robby Albarado sent Marchman to the front at the break and barely held off the late charge of Positive Side to win by a neck. Marchman covered the 5½ furlongs on a firm turf course in 1:02.36.
It was the second victory in the race for Albarado, who won in 2002 on Morluc, and also for trainer Bret Calhoun, who saddled 2008 winner Mr. Nightlinger.
Marchman is a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Sharp Humor out of the Indian Charlie mare Sookie Sookie. The $60,000 winner’s share boosted Marchman’s earnings to $225,628 with a record of 12-4-2-3.
Marchman returned $49.60, $22.40 and $14.40. Positive Side, ridden by Leandro Goncalves, returned $28.20 and $13.40 with Something Extra, ridden by Jose Lezcano, finishing another three-quarters of a length back and paying $5.80 to show.
Hogy finished fourth and was followed in order by Go Blue Or Go Home, Gantry, defending champion Havelock, Shrinking Violet and No Silent in a dead-heat for eighth, Channel Marker, Animal Style and Ancil.
Racing continues Sunday with a nine-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m. ET and features the 29th running of the $200,000 Beaumont (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select for 3-year-old fillies. The Beaumont, which carries 17 points toward the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 2, will go as the eighth race with a 4:42 p.m. post time.