Notes & Quotes From the Ballerina Stakes: Come Dancing

(Come Dancing impressive in winning the Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday / Coglianese Photo & Courtesy of NYRA)

Taking charge in the stretch, Come Dancing came prancing across the finish line to win the $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

The 41st running of the Ketel One Ballerina, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park, was one of seven stakes and six Grade 1s on a packed card highlighted by the 150th Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers.

Trainer Carlos Martin — Come Dancing (1st):

“When I saw her just sit out there in third, I said, ‘She’s so comfortable.’ When she gets into that comfortable rhythm, it means she has a lot left coming back,” said Martin. “She trained so brilliantly the whole time here. Sitting around the turn, I felt pretty comfortable.”

“I was thinking we won a Grade 1 at Saratoga and we kept the Martin family and the Blue Devil family in a good frame of mind going into the Breeders’ Cup,” said Martin. “I think she’s shown that, when given time between races, that she fires her best shot.”

Jockey Javier Castellano — Come Dancing: 

“She didn’t break sharp out of the gate. I took my time to move up and control the race,” said Castellano. “She’s a wonderful filly and she’s so kind. You can do whatever you want with her. In the stretch, she proved she was much the best the way she did it.”

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin — Dawn the Destroyer (2nd):

“We’re thrilled to be second. It’s a Grade 1 and she’s so well bred and a beautiful filly, so Johnny did a great job trying to win and got second,” said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Dawn the Destroyer. “She put in a big run, but a very nice filly won it. Congratulations to Carlos Martin and his team.”

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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