2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Dance With Fate

Matthew Stockman

We continue our run through the contenders for the 2014 Kentucky Derby with a look at the winner of the Blue Grass Stakes, Dance With Fate.

Dance With Fate

Dancewithfate_medium

Trainer: Peter Eurton
Owner: S. Alesia, Bran Jam Stable or Ciaglia Racing, LLC
Jockey: Corey Nakatani
Sire: Two Step Salsa
Dam: Flirting With Fate (Saint Ballado)
Lifetime Record: 8-3-3-0
Lifetime Earnings: $680,050

Future Wager Odds: Pool 1 - 4/5 (Field) ; Pool 2 - 3/2 (Field); Pool 3 - 3/1 (Field); Pool 4 - 5/1 (Field)

Notable Races: G1-Blue Grass (1st); G3-El Camino Real Derby (2nd); G1-Breeders' Cup Juvenile (9th); G1-Front Runner Stakes (2nd); G1-Del Mar Futurity (2nd)

The Good

Dance With Fate comes into the Derby having won two of his last three races and he's finished second or better in three of his four lifetime starts at the Grade 1 level. He made a big, late move from the back of the pack to win the Blue Grass Stakes over the Poly at Keeneland in his most recent start and he appears to possess a running style that could play well at Churchill if a fast pace develops in the early stages of the Derby.

If you're looking to play a closer in this year's Derby, Dance With Fate is one of the few proven off-the-pace runners in the field. Of course...

The Bad

... it's all about the surface for his fella.

All three of Dance With Fate's career victories have come over a synthetic or turf surface and it's not hard to see in his past performances that this colt is clearly better on the plastic. His dirt form is a bit tough to really get a handle on; his run in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile saw him finish over nine lengths back of the winner after a trouble-filled start saw him spot the field 11 lengths in the first quarter mile. One race prior to the Breeders' Cup he finished a good second to Bond Holder in the Front Runner on the dirt - so it's not crazy to think this guy can put in a good effort on his non-preferred surface.

The issue I'm grappling with is this: his best effort on dirt saw him sit close to a decent pace only to give up the lead to Bond Holder in the stretch, losing by just 2 ¼ lengths; is that the type of race Dance With Fate needs to run on dirt in order to run his best - sitting close to the pace? If that's the case, then I don't have much interest in him as a horse that's going to find himself in the top four on Derby day. However, if he's able to employ a running style similar to his wins on synthetic in turf - deep closing - then I think he becomes an interesting colt for the deep exotics.

Final Thoughts

Every year the Kentucky Derby field presents us with horses like Dance With Fate that cause conflicting opinions on what do with them on my tickets. As it stands now, I'll likely use Dance With Fate deep in the tris and supers but not anywhere else. While I like the fact this colt can come from well off the pace, I'm not sold on whether he'll successfully employ that kind of running style in this race. And, unfortunately, you have to draw the line somewhere on Derby day.

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