Sophomore Earns First Career Stakes Win in One-Mile Turf Test
BALTIMORE, MD – Madaket Stables, Wonder Stable, Paul Farr and Team Hanley’s T D Dance saved ground racing inside early, split horses in mid-stretch to gain the lead and sprinted clear to a 3 ¾-length triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 James W. Murphy at Pimlico Race Course.
The 56th running of the Murphy for 3-year-olds at one mile on the grass was the fourth of 10 stakes, six graded, worth $2.25 million in purses on a spectacular 14-race program headlined by the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Trained by Brad Cox, T D Dance ($3.80) completed the distance in 1:34.89 over a firm turf course to give Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano his third career Murphy victory. Castellano also won in 2010 in Beau Choix and 2014 with Wallyanna.
T D Dance settled in fourth as 11-1 long shot Charles Chrome took the field through splits of 23.28 seconds, 47.61 and 1:12.14 pressed by Kasim and Indian Lake, the latter riding a two-race win streak. Castellano was able to find a seam once straightened for home and shot through to give the Can the Man filly – favored at 4-5 – her second straight win and first in a stakes.
Arzak came with a late run down the center of the track to catch Charles Chrome by a neck for second, and it was another neck back to Indian Lake in fourth.
T D Dance debuted with a two-length maiden victory on the Indiana Grand grass last October, then was beaten a neck first time against winners in an off-the-turf event in December, both races coming at one mile. Fifth in the 1 1/16-mile Black Gold Feb. 27 to open her 3-year-old season, she was a popular 1 ¾-length optional claiming allowance winner March 27 at Fair Grounds in her previous start.
The James W. Murphy pays homage to the late trainer that won nearly 1,400 races and more than 50 stakes and $24 million in purses starting in 1965. He was named the MTHA’s Trainer of the Year in 2006, three years before he died at age 82.
$100,000 James W. Murphy Quotes
Winning Trainer Brad Cox (T D Dance): “He ran well. Glad he performed the way he had been training. He has always trained really well. And I think he is improving mentally as time goes on.”
(On cutting back to a mile) “I thought this made a little bit more sense at this time of his career. Hopefully, we can compete with the horses on the NYRA circuit in the 3-year-old division. That is the goal.”
“He has been a horse, who in his last few races has been sort of leaning in a little bit. He seems to have straightened up a little bit. Javier [Castellano] said he galloped out really well and gave him confidence to think that he is a horse that would go further. He doesn’t take a hold of the bit, but he is a horse that has learned to relax.”
Winning Jockey Javier Castellano (T D Dance): “We had a great trip, a dream trip. We saved all the ground on the first turn. Even though it was a small field, I covered him up on the first turn. On the far turn, he cut the corner and finished up and galloped out strong. He took off when that seam opened. I told Brad [Cox] that he could be really competitive at a longer distance.”
Trainer Michael Trombetta (Arzak; 2nd): “I really want to watch the race again, with having two horses in the race, I was going back and forth watching them in the race, but I was very happy that we got up for the photo for second.”
Jockey Daniel Centeno (Arzak; 2nd): “He ran pretty good today compared to his last two races. He was a little aggressive at the beginning, so I tried to cover him up. On the backside, he settled down, and I made a good run. He improved a lot today.”