After Babybluesbdancing won the Rolling Meadows Stakes today at Arlington Park, owner Lizabeth Gore reflected on what her star filly has meant to her from the very beginning. "She was born at our house. Her mother died the night she was born. I bottle fed her 'til we got a nurse mare, so she's just been really special from the very, very beginning. Really special. She was the very last horse born at our farm."
Babybluesbdancing has carried the legacy of Lizabeth and Terrel Gore's farm -- and of her six-time stakes-winning dam Bluesbdancing -- as well as anyone could have dreamed. She marked herself at the top of her two-year-old class with a resounding victory in last year's Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante at Hawthorne. She continued her dominance of the division this year, easily winning this year's Purple Violet Stakes. Babybluesbdancing then proved able to hold her own outside the land of Lincoln. She achieved something Bluesbdancing never did, a graded stakes placing, when she ran second in the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks. In her most recent start, on August 12, she finished fourth in the Monmouth Oaks (G3).
In today's Rolling Meadows Stakes Babybluesbdancing was the class of the four-horse field; the public had faith to the tune of 2/5 on the tote. As usual, though, she let others take the initiative early. Jolee, so excited in the paddock before the race, sprung from the gate as quickly as the latch. After the first few strides, Royalty Princess flashed past; a sound bump from Shezahotmama at the break had impeded her briefly, but the confirmed frontrunner recovered to lead the field to an opening quarter in 22.94 seconds. Jolee settled in a stalking flight outside Shezahotmama, with Babybluesbdancing bringing up the rear about four lengths off the pace.
Near the half mile pole, Shezahotmama angled off the rail to run at Royalty Princess. Royalty Princess made it 45.72 for the half, but Shezahotmama breathed down her neck. Farther back, Jolee continued to chase. Jockey Julio Felix asked Babybluesbdancing to improve from the back of the pack; she was beginning to respond.
Shezahotmama struck the front with a quarter of a mile to go, with three in a line behind her turning for home. Three-wide Babybluesbdancing was moving best among them, with two lengths to close on her target. Santo Sanjur implored Shezahotmama for all she had, but her best effort proved no match. Julio Felix gave Babybluesbdancing three reminder slaps near the furlong pole, pushed her along by hand the rest of the way, and Babybluesbdancing rolled on to win by a measured length and a half. It was another four and three quarters lengths from Shezahotmama back to third-place Jolee, with Royalty Princess completing the order another eleven and three quarters lengths back. Tannah'blu was a stakes scratch; Saturday's Song was scratched and re-entered Friday.
Babybluesbdancing stopped the timer in 1:23.78 for seven furlongs over polytrack, and returned $2.80 to her confident backers. The $1 exacta with Shezahotmama second (5-1) paid $2.00. A trifecta with Jolee in the lowest rung (5-1-6) came back with $1.60 for each $0.50 base bet.
Babybluesbdancing is a three-year-old bay daughter of Sky Mesa out of the Golden Gear mare Bluesbdancing. Bred in Illinois by RNB Racing LLC, she bears the silks of owner Lizabeth Gore, and is trained by Terrel Gore. Today's victory brought her career record to five wins in twelve starts, and was her third triumph in stakes company. The $39,480 winner's share of the Rolling Meadows Stakes purse brought her career earnings to $195,301.
Jockey Julio Felix has ridden her to all five of her career victories. "It's a good feeling for me," Felix reflected after the race, "because I taught her how to run. It just makes me feel good." Even so, Felix acknowledged that today's victory wasn't the same kind of dominating score she put up in the Purple Violet Stakes on June 3. "Last time she ran here it was on the Poly, and she won by seven lengths and I never had to ask her. She’s a stretch runner, but I had to get after her a little harder today than usual – she usually jumps into the bit and then takes me to the top of lane, and I bring her home. Today I brought her from the trees to the wire, but she’s so much fun to ride – she gives you her heart, her life."
Trainer Terrel Gore had an explanation for why she was not as sharp as she had been in other starts. The Rolling Meadows Stakes was an overnight stakes, not announced until late last month, and Gore did not work her in preparation for the race. "It just came up all of a sudden; we weren't expecting to run here again. We've obviously got to go for it when they come up with something like this." Gore's original goal for Babybluesbdancing had been the Remington Park Oaks on September 24, and he stated that she will probably still run there.
No matter what that future holds, Babybluesbdancing will hold an important place with the Gores. As Lizabeth effused after today's victory, "She's been...something special about her, since the night she was born. We love her! We would love her anyway, though, but she's pretty special."
Photograph courtesy of Four Footed Fotos.
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