ELMONT, N.Y - Blue Devil Racing Stable's Come Dancing will seek a second graded stakes victory, headlining a talented field of five fillies and mares in Sunday's Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian going one mile over the Belmont Park main track.
Trained by third generation conditioner Carlos Martin, the 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon won the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct in her most recent start where she went right to the front under jockey Manny Franco and drew off to win by 7 ¾ lengths while recording a 114 Beyer speed figure. The win gave Martin his first triumph in a graded stakes race since Roar Emotion won Pimlico's Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan in 2003.
Come Dancing's victory in the Distaff came off of a four-month layoff. Her prior start was a close second behind five-time graded stakes winner Marley's Freedom in the Grade 3 Go for Wand last December at Aqueduct.
"We have to credit Ocala Stud. They've been big supporters of us," Martin said. "The last several years we've used them in giving horses time off and breaking horses and they've done an excellent job, so it makes my job a lot easier. I was able to put four to five serious works into her and her race was spectacular."
In addition to her win in the Distaff, Come Dancing also captured the restricted Royal Delta last September at Belmont Park, which was contested over a sloppy main track.
Although, both of her stakes wins were won in gate-to-wire fashion, Martin said he believes Come Dancing is adaptable.
"Manny just let her do her thing," Martin said. "She can stalk, and she can cruise on the lead. She stalked the pace at Aqueduct last winter and just missed to a real nice horse in Marley's Freedom who runs in the [Grade 1] Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs this weekend. She's pretty adaptable."
A Kentucky homebred, Come Dancing is out of the graded stakes winner Tizahit, who won the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct in 2009.
Jockey Manny Franco retains the mount on Come Dancing who will emerge from post five.
Pacific Wind will seek her first victory since last year's Ruffian when she breaks from post one for this year's edition.
Owned by Peter Brant, Ciaglia Racing, Dominic Savides and Sharon Alesia, the 5-year-old daughter of Curlin will race for the first time since finishing a distant third in the Grade 3 Go for Wand.
Trained by Chad Brown, Pacific Wind previously raced in southern California and was twice graded stakes placed over the grass for former trainer Peter Eurton. Her first start for Brown was a highly impressive one when she stormed to victory in a one-mile allowance race over the main track at Keeneland last April.
Pacific Wind was bred in Kentucky by Sarah Farish and is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winning millionaire Strike a Deal. Both are out of the stakes winning Dixieland Band broodmare Shag.
She will piloted by jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Boasting the highest career earnings in the field is three-time stakes winner Frostie Anne, who has banked $568,443 in her 38-race career. The Rudy Rodriguez conditioned, New York-bred daughter of Frost Giant won the Biogio's Rose on February 10 at Aqueduct three starts back and also has stakes victories in last year's Saratoga Dew on August 17 at Saratoga and the Sis City on March 31 at Aqueduct.
Frostie Anne is no stranger to success on the Big Sandy oval having won four of her seven starts over the grounds. Frostie Anne will be ridden by Hector Diaz, Jr. and breaks from post four.
Sun Studio (post two, John Velazquez) and Pink Sands (post three, Jose Ortiz) round out the field.
The Ruffian is slated as Race 8 on Sunday's nine-race card. First post is 1:30 p.m.
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