Saturday, February 24, 2007 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 24, 2007 . . . Our Dancing Babe was last halfway through the Valdale Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday but first when it counted, closing from 14 lengths off the lead to take the race by 2 1/4 lengths. The winning jockey was Alonso Quinonez.
On paper the race promised plenty of speed, but on the track only Bavarian Belle wanted the lead. Striking an easy and unchallenged 12-beat pace, she opened up a five-length lead early, ceding her position to Our Dancing Babe at the sixteenth pole. Miss A. Bomb ran most of the race in third and finished there, 1 1/4 lengths behind Bavarian Belle. Final time was 1:38.98.
"I thought there would be someone to go with that horse on the lead," said winning trainer Daniel M. "Speedy" Smithwick Jr. "It wasn't that fast, and I was pleased that my filly was able to close with that horse loose on the lead like that. She lays a little bit closer sprinting than she does when she goes long. The first time we stretched her out, we told the jockey to just let her do her thing, and when they turned down the backside, she dropped herself back next to last. She did the same thing today."
Behind Miss A. Bomb came Cee Stone, Luna Dorada, Tylan, She's Impossible, the 2-1 favorite Miss Taro, Carryin the Dream, Moments Past, and Stravinsky's Code. Beautiful Venue, Crafty Melissa, and Spanish Ghost scratched.
Our Dancing Babe entered the Valdale just two weeks from her last race, an allowance win at Turfway. "It was awfully quick to run her back, so any improving she did, she did on her own." said Smithwick.
The $50,000 Valdale is Our Dancing Babe's first stakes win. The one-mile ungraded race for three-year-old fillies sets up for the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup (G3) on the Lane's End Stakes undercard exactly one month hence, and Smithwick identified that race as a next logical step for his filly.
In eight career starts, Our Dancing Babe now has three consecutive wins, all at Turfway, plus one second and one third. Owned by David A. Ross, she has earned $69,510.
Our Dancing Babe paid $16.20, $8.60, and $5.20 as the 7-1 fourth choice.
The win was the second on the card for Quinonez, who now has 44 wins in the meet, one more than Miguel Mena and Julien Leparoux.
Racing continues Sunday at Turfway with first post at 1:10 p.m.