by Ryan Martin
Blue Devil Racing Stable’s Come Dancing sat patiently off a torrid pace and picked up a fifth graded stakes victory proving to be much the best in the 29th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Honorable Miss for fillies and mares going six furlongs over the main track at Saratoga Race Course.
Guided by jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., Come Dancing broke sharply from her inside post but took back into fourth as graded stakes winner Lady’s Island threw down swift splits of 21.64 for the opening quarter and 43.81 for the half-mile over the fast main track.
Around the far turn, Come Dancing began making up ground and moved a path to the outside of multiple graded stakes winner Blamed and got her cue from Ortiz, Jr. at the quarter pole.
With Lady’s Island to catch, Come Dancing was under an all-out drive and charged in between rivals and took command just past the eighth-pole. She hit the wire a three-quarter length winner, stopping the clock in a time of 1:08.74.
Lady’s Island finished second 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Blamed. Unholy Alliance, Pink Sands, Bye Bye J and Pacific Gale completed the order of finish.
Come Dancing’s last victory took place in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom last September at Belmont Park. Prior to that effort, she won against graded stakes company at all three NYRA tracks taking the Grade 3 Distaff at Aqueduct Racetrack, the Grade 2 Ruffian at Belmont Park and the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga.
“I was happy to see that Irad was able to get her to break and settle and he had her in the clear when he made his move,” said trainer Carlos Martin. “The track has been very fast, but I just wanted to see the old Come Dancing give us a run like the champion that she is. It’s very gratifying that Marc [Holliday, Blue Devil Racing Stable] brought her back. A lot naysayers were saying she lost a step but hopefully she can come back and finish the year strong and we can be vindicated. I’m so happy for Come Dancing, she’s a special horse for us.”
Ortiz, Jr., who picked up his tenth stakes win of the meet, was piloting Come Dancing for the first time since October 2018, where she was fifth in the Grade 1 Beldame.
“I’m happy to be back on her today,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “I haven’t ridden her in a long time but she’s as good as she’s ever been. Hopefully, she stays sound and healthy.”