Tapit fillies dead-heat in Grade 1 Spinaway

Pretty City Dancer, Sweet Loretta duel at the Spa

Tapit’s pair of 2-year-old fillies, Pretty City Dancer and Sweet Loretta, separated themselves from the field but couldn’t be split at the wire in the $350,000 Spinaway S. (G1) Sept. 3 at Saratoga, with the duo dead-heating 5 3/4 lengths ahead of the competition.

The dead-heat was the first in the 125-year history of the race and gave the nation’s runaway leading sire his 18th and 19th lifetime Grade 1 winners. With 12 graded stakes winners and nearly $14.8 million in progeny earnings to date in 2016, Tapit’s offspring have nearly four months to break his 2015 single-season record of $18.3 million.

Pretty City Dancer and Sweet Loretta took different paths to victory in Saturday’s seven-furlong contest. Both came away near the back of the seven-horse field, but Sweet Loretta began to move up soon after, while Pretty Dancer was content to sit a few lengths farther off the pace. Midway on the turn, Sweet Loretta made a bid for the lead, ultimately striking the front at the head of the stretch. Pretty City Dancer was gaining as well, with about two lengths to make up with a furlong to run. Sweet Loretta had the advantage in the final few strides until Pretty City Dancer’s final bid put to the two on even terms at the wire.

“I thought she was going to get there and then she kind of laid in,” said Mark Casse, trainer of Pretty City Dancer. “I never really saw the head-on, but I thought we won and then I thought we got beat. Then I met up with Todd (Pletcher, trainer of Sweet Loretta) and he said, ‘Will you take a dead-heat?’ and I said, ‘I’ll take a dead-heat.’ So that’s what we got.”

Pretty City Dancer, winner of Churchill Downs’ Debutante S., is owned by John Oxley and is now 3-0-1 in four starts and has earned $229,700. Sweet Loretta is perfect in three starts, including the Schuylerville S. (G3), and has earned $250,520 for owner St. Elias Stable.

Pedigree Notes, courtesy of the TDN

Pretty City Dancer, whose half-sister Lear’s Princess famously defeated Belmont S. (G1) winner Rags to Riches in the 2007 Gazelle S. (G1), is out of Pretty City, an unraced mare who was hammered down to Gainesway for $160,000 in foal to Stormy Atlantic out of the Palides Investments dispersal at Keeneland November in 2011. Pretty City Dancer, the most expensive of her leading sire’s yearling fillies to sell in 2015, has a full-brother who is consigned by Gainesway as Hip 565 in the upcoming Keeneland September sale. Pretty City was most recently bred to Gainesway inmate and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Karakontie.

The Lyster family’s Ashview Farm acquired Sweet Loretta’s stakes-placed dam for $240,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September sale and visited Tapit in her first year in the breeding shed. Produced on the same Storm Cat cross as champion Hansen, Sweet Loretta is kin to a yearling colt by Tapit and a filly foal by Street Sense. Ithinkisawapudycat, a half-sister to Sovereign Award-winning 2-year-old filly Spring In the Air and from the family of multiple graded stakes winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Tejano Run, was last bred to Constitution.

Pretty City Dancer (left) and Sweet Loretta dead-heat in the Spinaway
Chelsea Durand/NYRA