Afleet Alex added to his growing list of stakes winners Saturday when Dancing Afleet charged home late to take the $308,000 Delaware Oaks (G2) by a half-length. The victory was the first in a stakes for the 3-year-old filly, who has won three of five lifetime starts.
Dancing Afleet, trained and part-owned by the same connections that led Afleet Alex to wins in the Preakness (G1) and Belmont S. (G1) in 2005, was looking to keep her perfect record over the Delaware Park oval intact in the Oaks.
Trainer Tim Ritchey had faith in the bay filly to make the big jump in class following a strong allowance win June 24 at Delaware Park. With regular rider Joshua Navarro in the irons, Dancing Afleet settled nicely in fifth through the first half mile in :47.64.
Around the second turn, Dancing Afleet was perfectly poised to make her move behind a trio of dueling front-runners. Navarro took his filly out around the group after straightening for home. Ile St. Molly had pulled clear by a couple of length, but Dancing Afleet would not be denied, overtaking her foe in deep stretch to finish the 1 1/16-miles in 1:44.59 on a “wet fast” track.
Ritchey bought Pennsylvania-bred Dancing Afleet in partnership with Beverly Frazier for a modest $28,000 as a yearling at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Eastern fall sale. That has proved to be quite a bargain as the filly has now earned $248,950. Out of the Citidancer mare Mrs. Vanderbilt, Dancing Afleet is a half-sister to two-time stakes winner Tujoes.