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Miss Empire Fights Back To Win Pike Place Dancer
Southern California shipper Miss Empire, the 1-2 favorite ridden by Russell Baze, won a stretch-long battle with 10-1 Butterfly Soul to capture the $100,000 Pike Place Dancer Stakes by a neck Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.
Miss Empire fought back after losing the lead to Butterfly Soul to earn her second career stakes victory. Making her first start on turf in the one-mile feature for 2-year-old fillies, Miss Empire clocked a time of 1:38.84 on a rain-dampened course rated “good” and paid $3.00 to her throng of backers.
“The turf was a little soft and she was bobbling on it,” said Baze. “If she had gotten a better hold of the turf, I don’t think they would have gotten to her. As soon as that horse (Butterfly Soul) came up to her she dug back in, but it took her awhile to get her momentum and get going. Toward the end, she switched back to her left lead and was able to accelerate past the other horse. I think she has a promising future.”
Butterfly Soul was ridden by Dennis Carr, who returned to Golden Gate Fields for the fall meeting after spending the past few years in New York. Carr finished second to Baze in the jockey standings at 10 major meetings in Northern California during two previous stays in the area.
“Just like old times,” said Carr with a grin upon entering the jockey’s room following the Pike Place Dancer.
Butterfly Soul, based in Northern California and trained by Genaro Vallejo, was also making her first start on turf and greatly pleased Carr with her effort.
“My filly ran huge,” said Carr. “First time on grass, you couldn’t ask for anything more. Hopefully she’ll have a future on it (turf). She got a hair bit tired but Russell’s filly dug in. She made the favorite work hard.”
Miss Empire, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Empire Maker, is trained by Peter Miller and owned in partnership by Gary and Cecil Barber and Kevin Tsujihara. Winner of the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park during the summer, Miss Empire earned $60,000 for the Pike Place Dancer victory and has made $207,120 in seven career starts.
Racing continues at Golden Gate Fields Sunday. Post time is 12:45 p.m. and the track is offering $1 general parking, $1 general admission, $1 programs, $1 hot dogs, $1 beers, $1 sodas and the opportunity to watch all the NFL games via the Sunday Ticket.
Golden Gate Fields is a Stronach Group company, North America's leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its Adena Springs operation. The company owns and operates AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.