John C. Oxley's DANCINGINHERDREAMS (Tapit) bided her time just in behind the pacesetters during Sunday's $165,450 Pocahontas S. (G2) on Churchill Downs' opening day, angled to the rail entering the stretch and spurted away in the lane to be 5 1/4 lengths clear on the wire in only her second career start. The John Ward Jr. trainee broke her maiden by five lengths at Keeneland on October 10, and moved her record to a perfect two-for-two here when finishing one-mile on the fast main track in 1:38 2/5.
"That's the way she trains in the morning, so to see it come back and do it in the afternoon is pretty good," Ward said. "I thought the racetrack was very difficult today, but she obviously overcomes what's in front of her. I wouldn't call it easy but she handled everything well. We will see her again in Florida and she needs to put some meat on her bones. But that's what you're looking for and I think she will run as far you want her to go."
Honey Chile (Invisible Ink) moved up to take command when the gates opened, setting splits of :22 3/5 and :46 2/5 while running wide down the backstretch. Jockey Michael Baze steered her closer to the rail as Days Like This (Congrats) tried to scoot up beside the leader on the inside, effectively closing that gap, but the filly's main problems were approaching to her outside. Gran Lioness (Lion Heart) and Eden Star (Eddington) ranged up to Honey Chile's outside, with the former taking a brief lead through six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 as the longtime pacesetter began to fade.
All the while, Dancinginherdreams was blocked in behind horses as the field circled the turn. Jockey Julien Leparoux didn't panic, though, waiting for the moment to send his mount, and that moment came when the rail opened up entering the lane. The gray lass dashed through under encouragement from Leparoux, who gave a few more shakes of the reins before realizing nobody was keeping pace with the juvenile. He wrapped up on her yards before the wire, allowing Dancinginherdreams to coast under the line a much-the-best winner.
"She ran good," Leparoux said. "I was in tight and she had a great pull; she does everything good. Today she broke a little bit better."
Sent off the even-money favorite, Dancinginherdreams paid $4, $2.80 and $2.30 while keying the $51 exacta, $264.60 trifecta and $1,495 superfecta (3-5-1-4). Eden Star held a closing Missyoulikecrazy (Lion Heart) to third by a half-length, returning $9.20 and $5.40 as the 25-1 second longest shot on the board. Show was worth $5.20 at 15-1, and next under the line came Gran Lioness, Days Like This, Switching Gears (Tapit) and Honey Chile.
"She ran a little better than I thought she would," trainer Eric Reed said of Eden Star. "I really like her a lot. She's just ultra-game."
With the Pocahontas winner's share added to her earnings, Dancinginherdreams has now banked $124,529 from her two lifetime starts. Bred in Kentucky by Nancy Shuford, the gray filly brought $40,000 as a Keeneland January purchase before selling to Oxley as a Keeneland September yearling for $330,000. She is the second registered foal out of Mayan Milagra (Menifee), who has since produced an unnamed yearling filly by Political Force and a weanling Exchange Rate lass.
Mayan Milagra is herself out of multiple stakes winner Dhaka (Icecapade), making her a half-sister to stakes scorers Deodar (Woodman) and Bemar (Pulpit) as well as Grade 3 runner-up Morada Key (Carson City). Bemar would go on the breeding shed to foal Ocasta (Cherokee Run), who was last seen finishing third in the Bourbon S. (G3) at Keeneland on October 10. Others of note in this line include Grade 1 winners Both Ends Burning (Nalees Man), Hyperborean (Icecapade) and Sister Act (Saint Ballado).