Dancing Buck Breaks Through For First Stakes Win in Belmont Turf Sprint, Enters Breeders' Cup Picture - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Dancing Buck Breaks Through For First Stakes Win in Belmont Turf Sprint, Enters Breeders’ Cup Picture

Manny Franco guides Dancing Buck to first stakes win in the G3 Belmont Turf Sprint

J and N Stables and Diamond M Stable's Dancing Buck broke sharp and took a lead he never relinquished, storming home to a five-length victory in Saturday's $200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint (G3) during the Belmont at the Big A fall meet at Aqueduct.

Dancing Buck, who trainer Michelle Nevin elevated to graded stakes company for the first time in his 14th career start, broke on top and was sent to the front by jockey Manny Franco as his charge led the nine-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in :23.19 and the half in :46.25 over the yielding outer turf course.

The 4-year-old War Dancer gelding posted five-eighths of a mile in :57.69 and continued strong to the wire, completing six furlongs for 3-year-olds and older in a final time of 1:09.60 for his first career stakes victory.

“I wanted to break sharp and be close, I didn't want him to get parked too far away,” Nevin said. “Manny did a hell of a job getting him out there and to the lead like that.

“He's such a nice, easy-going horse,” Nevin continued. “He'll just wait on the jock to tell him what to do. I wasn't concerned that he was going to go to the lead and go too fast, he's very, very ratable.”

Voodoo Zip edged Yes and Yes by a neck for runner-up status, with Arzak, Thin White Duke, Chewing Gum, Scuttlebuzz, Seven Scents and Value Proposition completing the order of finish. Noble Emotion, Nothing Better, Fauci and main-track only entrant Greeley and Ben were scratched.

Off at 4-1, Dancing Buck returned $10.60 on a $2 win wager. Bred by co-owners J and N Stables in the Empire State, he ran well in a second consecutive stake after running second to Thin White Duke by a nose in the Lucky Coin on September 2. Nevin left open the possibility of targeting the 5 1/2-furlong $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) on November 5 at Keeneland next.

“I'd really like that. I thought he ran huge in Saratoga going five and a half,” Nevin said. “He was unlucky to get nipped up there [in the Lucky Coin].”

Dancing Buck improved his career earnings to $431,770, banking $110,000 in victory.

“I took advantage of the break because he broke so sharp,” Franco said. “I just went on with him and he did the rest. He was nice and comfortable on the lead and he got it done. He's getting better with age and Michelle has been doing a great job with this horse.”

Voodoo Zip, trained by Christophe Clement and ridden by Joel Rosario, rallied from seventh to earn a placing for the first time in three career stakes starts.

“He kept moving forward, but it's tough sometimes when they run away from you like that,” Rosario said. “But he kept moving forward and we're happy with him. He always showed that he finished well in the last part, and that's exactly what he did today. He handled the ground fine. He ran a good race, it's just too bad we couldn't catch the one in front.”

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