Dancinginherdreams Still Dreaming of the Oaks

As I previously warned you, from here through early May, it’s going to be all Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), all the time on my blog. Throughout the next few weeks, I hope to provide you with some insight into the Oaks contenders and their connections, as well as some behind-the-scenes views of the spectacle leading up to the first Friday in May.

One of the many fillies currently reaching for the lilies is John Oxley’s Dancinginherdreams. I had been wondering about her status, since she skipped one of the traditional Oaks prep races last weekend—the Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. II), which seemed like it should have been her most logical next step along the trail.

But trainer John Ward, who has had a master plan in mind all along for the daughter of Tapit, assured me that all is well.

“She arrived at Churchill Downs on Sunday (Mach 3), and she is going to be entered in the (April 9) Central Bank Ashland (gr. I),” said Ward, adding that that filly had worked three times since her second-place effort to R Heat Lightning in the Feb. 26 Davona Dale (gr. II) at Gulfstream.

Bred in Kentucky by Nancy Shuford and bought for $330,000 by Oxley at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale, Dancinginherdreams launched her career with a five-length victory in her debut last fall, followed by a 5 1/4-length score in the Pocahontas (gr. II) two weeks later. She then had a three-month rest before running a close second in the Jan. 30 Forward Gal (gr. II).

Dancinginherdreams winning the Pocahontas; photo courtesy of Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs

When asked why he didn’t run Dancinginherdreams in the April 3 Gulfstream Park Oaks, Ward said, “She ran a two-race series at Gulfstream (Jan. 30 Forward Gal and Feb. 26 Davona Dale), and I would have rather not come back as soon down there. I wanted to put six weeks of rest into her instead of five weeks and come back on the 28 or 29-day routine where I didn’t have to do as much work in the spring in Kentucky when you’re not sure what your surfaces are going to be.”

Dancinginherdreams was soundly beaten by R Heat Lightning in the Davona Dale when she trailed by 7 ¼ lengths, but Ward thinks she’ll have no trouble bouncing back from that loss.

“When you look at the Davona Dale on the handicapping side, we were giving R Heat Lightning weight; I think we gave her six pounds,” said Ward. “During the course of the race, we were a little bit wide with (R Heat Lightning) right next to us, and she cut the corner and went inside, and we had to go around outside.

“R Heat Lightning ran a very good effort. I wouldn’t say we had a lack of a performance; we just had a lot of things to overcome. In the turn, (Dancinginherdreams) wasn’t comfortable and she was in a deeper part of the racetrack. (Jockey) Julien Leparoux had to get to get into his drive a little too soon.”

Ward, who has named Leparoux to pilot the filly once again in the Ashland, believes the 1 1/16-mile event will suit Dancinginherdreams well, even though she has never raced past a mile.

“I’ve felt very good about her (since the Davona Dale). She’s not a sprinter; two turns is what we want to do,” said Ward of the filly, who will face dual graded stakes winner Kathmanblu in the race. He noted that in the Forward Gal, when Dancinginherdreams got beat a quarter of a length by Pomeroy’s Pistol, she “had to go wide, got hung up, had everything against her, and we were giving everybody weight in that race. (In the Ashland) we’re back to even weights, going around two turns, where if everything comes to hand, she should be at her best.”

I wish the best of luck to Dancinginherdreams and Ward as they venture forth toward the Ashland and the Oaks. And especially to John Oxley, who will have an additional Ashland entrant in Delightful Mary.
Who are some of your early favorites for the Oaks?


Leave a Comment:


The only two fillies I have been interested in all winter are Dancinginherdreams and Joyful Victory both I have futures on. I think both will be ready to fire there best on Oaks Day. The one filly I would no way bet in the Oaks is Kathmanblue or whatever her name is. She is WAY overrated I believe and in the end we will see that she likes turf more then dirt. Good luck at the windows everyone...

05 Apr 2011 6:10 PM

Arienza will win the Oaks.  There is no stopping her.

05 Apr 2011 6:13 PM

Interesting to note Julien Leparoux is the regular rider of both Kathmanblu and Dancinginherdreams.  Personally, I think Dancinginherdreams has more upside, and in her last race why was she so close to the pace?  It had to have compromised her late kick.

05 Apr 2011 8:23 PM
Brian Appleton

It would be great to see Dancinginherdreams bounce back with a huge effort in the Ashland. She looked great winning at Kenneland in her debut so maybe she'll be able to get back the 'spark'. Kathmanblu will be hard to beat, especially after that fantastic work she just had on Saturday.

05 Apr 2011 9:03 PM

I was at Gulfstream last week and R Heat Lightning was awesome.  Speaking of awesome, Awesome Maria was spectacular in the race before the Oaks.  Both ran the nine furlongs faster than Dialed In could in a winning effort the next day in the Florida Derby.  

Dancinginherdreams must be on to win the Kentucky Oaks.

05 Apr 2011 10:06 PM
Brian Russell

I made a lot of money betting on this guy 15 years ago with Gal In A Ruckus and Pyramid Peak but how does he get stalls anymore? He NEVER runs.

05 Apr 2011 10:07 PM

The Ashland appears to be the best race to watch this weekend with the amount of talent that has shown up.  I too have not given up on Dancinginherdreams.  

05 Apr 2011 10:47 PM

I wish the connections the very best.

06 Apr 2011 6:17 AM
Darla Burton

Wow!  All these great fillies in one race...The Oaks is going to be fantastic!!!

06 Apr 2011 8:48 AM
Zenyatta John

It was reported that Dancinginherdreams wasn't 'moving' very well at Gulfstream. That concerns me.

I hope she rebounds as Mr Ward expects her too.

06 Apr 2011 12:21 PM
Plum Pretty

Watch out for Plum pretty she is starting to come into her own.

06 Apr 2011 4:29 PM

I think this year's fillies are coming up nice. With RHL, Joyful Vict., Kathmanblu, Arienza, Summer Soiree, Dancinginherdreams and Zazu we all have alot to choose from. I really like Joyful Victory, hope she runs well this weekend!

06 Apr 2011 7:41 PM
Mike Relva

I think she will bounce back and win the Oaks.

06 Apr 2011 10:25 PM


Once again you have no idea what your talking about. Arienza lol are you serious!! I would expect by the time Oaks is upon us and you see Pletcher's horse will be the blink and you will act as if she has to win the Oaks. Joyful Victory is a monster just waiting to explode. Also if anyone thinks Gulfstream was a track that Ward's filly wuld like then you know nothing about track bias. Gulfstream is a speed demons track simple as that and Ward's filly loves CD and will run a peek effort in the race. If she's good enough is the only question. I have to admit I do not know much about the West Coast fillies this year. Good luck at the wondows eeryone...

06 Apr 2011 11:16 PM
John T

Living in Canada I would love to see Joyful Victory win the Oaks.She looked impressive winning

the Honeybee and her trainer Larry

Jones is vey good with fillies.It would be a nice victory also for her sire Tapit if it were to happen.

06 Apr 2011 11:28 PM

John T: I'm with you about liking Joyful Victory but I'm also hoping that Wyomia does well in the Ashland -- and Delightful Mary.  Both nice fillies when at Woodbine.

BTW: Anything happening with Winter Memories?  

07 Apr 2011 10:16 AM

Zazu and DancinginherDreams are my favorites but watch out for Plum Pretty.

07 Apr 2011 2:47 PM

The girls look way better than the boys this year.

07 Apr 2011 3:24 PM
glenn buschel

Anyone who knows how to watch a race and is familiar with track bias,has to admit that when dancinginherdreams ran at gulfstream, she basically had no chance with her running style and the speed bias that day.Not one horse was capable of closing on a scraped-speed favoring surface that so eliminated all horses that come rom out of it.Had it been my horse,I would have scratched.I believe the real John Ward horse will show up tomm.,and will need to,because Kathmanblu is one helluva filly.I'd love to be in julian's shoe's and have the option to choose between which one I should ride.Let's see if he choose's the right one!

08 Apr 2011 7:50 PM
Plum Fast

Plum Pretty has only ran four races and look what she has done, and who she has run against. She is starting to bloom.

11 Apr 2011 7:26 AM

The Oaks has more talent than the Derby!!!!

11 Apr 2011 9:59 PM

Words/verbosity-talk is cheap, and no substitute at all for proper training. Dancinginherdreams may be most talented of all, but needs to find a new trainer-quickly.

12 Apr 2011 12:01 AM
Len J

Kathmanblu ran the entire Ashland on the outside loosing ground every step and still finished third. A better trip might have made a big difference, but perhaps this might have made the Ashland a better prep for the daughter of Bluegrass Cat.

15 Apr 2011 1:11 PM
Fran Loszynski

Isn't she just beautiful! What a beauty from Tapit! Every now and then you get beautiful racehorses like Rachel Alexandra and Dancinginherdreams. It makes you go Hmmmm. when you are at the rail watching them.

15 Apr 2011 3:09 PM
Billy's Empire

Someone asked about Winter Memories. I think she is racing this week at Keeneland against Ruthenia in the 100k Appalachian. New Normal, Dos Lunas and Harlan's Ruby are also entered.

Oaks looks like a great race. Joyful Victory, Summer Soiree, R Heat, Zazu, Plum Pretty, Kathmanblu, the list of possibles is outstanding. Larry thinks Joyful can be as good as Eight Belles, and he is a trainer that does not boast much. I am still sticking with Kathmanblu for personal reasons.

18 Apr 2011 12:45 PM

If you saw dancinginherdreams in Florida, she loooks like a pony..probably at least 200 lbs less than most horses she's up against...I have no clue what Ward does...his only client has finally given most of his horses to other trainers...I'd love to see this filly in someone else's hands...I think she could be really special

20 Apr 2011 9:37 AM

More Than Real and Kathmanblu are possibles for the Coronation Stakes in England in June. I'm looking forward to seeing how they do over there.  

21 Apr 2011 12:55 AM

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