Trainer Terrel Gore trained for longtime Martin's Super Markets CEO Robert E. Bartels, nom-de-course RNB Racing, for over twenty years. Finding his horses on the track was easy, thanks to the neon green and purple silks. Finding a horse he owned (or owned at one point) was never hard on paper, either: look for names that end with "bdancing". One of the best of the "B-Dancing" brigade was BLUESBDANCING. During the mid-2000s, the Illinois-bred mare won ten times in 31 starts, including six stakes races.
Bartels, the longtime CEO of Martin's Super Markets in Indiana, passed away at age 78 in July 2015. After he died, his children did not want to stay in the horse racing game. Most of RNB Racing's horses went to other connections.
But, Terrel and Lizabeth Gore bought three. "They’re the ones we couldn’t stand to see go without knowing what they were. And, she was one of them."
"She" was BABYBLUESBDANCING, BLUESBDANCING's two-year-old daughter by Sky Mesa. Instead of her breeder's Day-Glo colours, BABYBLUESBDANCING carried the more refined white and red of Lizabeth Gore. Though it took BABYBLUESBDANCING four starts to break her maiden, she followed that first victory up with another daylight win against open N1X/$75K runners. She entered today's Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante as the only horse in the field of eleven who had more than one win to her name.
Despite that, she went off just the second betting choice, at 7/2. JOLEE, the daughter of another stakes mainstay (Summer Mis), was bet down to even-money off an impressive debut score during the opening weekend of the meet. SHE'S FINE TUNED, who opened the early favourite, eventually settled in as the fourth betting choice at 9/2. SHE'S FINE TUNED was one of just two horses in the race who had two-turn experience; the other being longshot SPRING CITY GAL.
PURE BLARNEY jetted out for the early lead. NEUQUA started sharply as well, prompting PURE BLARNEY through early fractions of 24.04 for the quarter, 48.56 for the half. BABYBLUESBDANCING tracked in third through the early stages, with JOLEE and SHE'S FINE TUNED in the next flight.
Through the far turn, NEUQUA and BABYBLUESBDANCING moved on PURE BLARNEY in tandem. The pacesetter dropped away. NEUQUA tried, but BABYBLUESBDANCING rallied better. She asserted herself on the lead, and opened daylight on the field. BABYBLUESBDANCING crossed the wire a length and a quarter clear.
SHE'S FINE TUNED rallied with a try for place, but faced a challenge from a rank outsider. 76/1 SPRING CITY GAL had dropped over a dozen lengths off the pace, in a deliberately planned move by jockey Victor Santiago. She swiftly closed up ground through the far turn. Down the lane she veered from side to side -- but also forward. It was enough for the place: SPRING CITY GAL hit the wire a head in front of SHE'S FINE TUNED. 1/1 favourite JOLEE, KALISPELL, ILLINI KITTEN, NEUQUA, PURE BLARNEY, ICE ATTACK, and JOSIE JEWELL completed the order of finish. ROMANCIN N DANCIN was a trainer's scratch.
BABYBLUESBDANCING rewarded her backers with a $9.60 win mutuel. The $1 exacta with SPRING CITY GAL second (8-7) paid $142.00. A $0.50 trifecta with SHE'S FINE TUNED in the lowest rung (8-7-10) returned $152.12. The superfecta with JOLEE in fourth (8-7-10-2) returned $575.32 for each $0.20 base bet.
BABYBLUESBDANCING is a two-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa out of the Golden Gear mare Bluesbdancing. She was bred in Illinois by RNB Racing LLC, is owned by Lizabeth Gore, and trained by Terrel Gore. Julio Felix, who had ridden for all her previous starts, returned to the irons today. The victory was BABYBLUESBDANCING's third in six career starts, her first stakes attempt, and her first stakes win. The $30,000 winner's share of the purse brought her career earnings to $70,970.
Rider Julio Felix and trainer Terrel Gore agreed that BABYBLUESBDANCING struck them from the start as a two-turn horse. Though Felix briefly worried that his filly was pulling early, he had enough horse to get the distance. Come the stretch run, Felix recalled, "I knew that if they were going to beat her, they would have to run."
BABYBLUESBDANCING's immediate plans include a vacation. Terrell Gore indicated that he plans to bring her back to the track here in Chicago come April or May.
Though BABYBLUESBDANCING had the experience edge, a black-type pedigree, and the expectations from being picked to stay in the barn where all the "B-Dancing" horses had so much history, Gore knows racing well enough not to assume things will turn out. "I was so nervous I couldn’t stand it," Gore remembered. "The races you get the most nervous in are the ones you think that you should do good. I thought…I knew she had it in her to do it. But, until it’s over, you never know."
BABYBLUESBDANCING had it in her.
Photos courtesy of Four Footed Fotos.