ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 18, 2014)–Dancingtothestars, a 6-year-old California-bred mare by Good Journey, engaged pacesetter Fanticola three furlongs from home and put in a sustained run through the lane to prevail by a length under Mario Gutierrez in Saturday’s $75,000 Megahertz Stakes for fillies and mares, getting one mile on turf in 1:33.77.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, the Ren Mar Thoroughbreds Inc. homebred was third, a length and a half off the lead around the Club House turn and was second past the half mile pole as Fanticola, with Joe Talamo up, cut out fractions of 23.08, 46.83, 1:10.38 and 1:22.02.
“The race set up perfect for her,” said Gutierrez. “Not too many horses…It was pretty easy today, she’s pretty honest. Before she had some troubles in her races but today she ran very well. It was a perfect distance for her.”
Off as the third choice in a field of five at 9-2, Dancingtothestars paid $11.00, $4.20 and $2.80.
“I thought she ran a great race,” said O’Neill, who notched his first added money win since taking the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with Goldencents on Nov. 1. “I thought Mario did a good job at keeping everyone honest, at keeping the pace honest. I thought he made another good move going down the backside when he made sure Fanticola didn’t get a chance to catch a breather. She’s a game, gutsy filly but I thought his ride won the race for us.”
Winless from five previous tries over the Santa Anita lawn, Dancingtothestars registered her sixth career victory in her 20th start. She bagged $60,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $400,872.
Fanticola, the second choice at 3-2, battled gamely at the rail to the wire but ended up second best and paid $3.40 and $2.40.
“We made a pretty easy lead,” said Talamo. “When Mario’s filly engaged me on the far turn, she kinda surprised me a little because I really thought I had a lot of horse, but hat’s off to the winner. My filly ran hard right to the wire but we couldn’t catch the winner.”
Irish-bred Gulsary, the actual favorite Mike Smith at 3-2, was last, just five lengths off the leader around the Club House turn and put in a good bid three-wide to finish third, a head behind Fanticola. She paid $2.20 to show.