Paul M. Steckel’s Dreamsgonewild upset the overflow field of the $100,000 Laurel Dash, including the venerable Ben’s Cat, in his stakes debut for trainer Bruce Alexander at Laurel Park on Saturday afternoon. A 5-year-old gelding by Freud, Dreamsgonewild covered the 6-furlong distance over the firm Laurel turf in 1:07.99, just .70 seconds off the course record of 1:07.29.
Drawn in the outside post of ten, Dreamsgonewild (7-1) got out of the gate in good order, and used his early foot to establish himself in a stalking position a length or so off pacesetter Bold Thunder. King Leatherbury’s 8-year-old homebred Ben’s Cat, a $2 million-earner and looking for his third victory in the Laurel Dash in four years, set up shop in third.
Dreamsgonewild held his position down the backstretch and around the far turn, but still had 1 1/2 lengths to make up at the top of the stretch. When he came under a drive, he answered the call, closing on Bold Thunder. He took over the top spot in the final stages and rode the momentum to a three-quarter-length victory. Ben’s Cat, finished a game third, a neck behind runner-up Bold Thunder.
A seven-time winner in 22 races, Dreamsgonewild has taken a trip to the winner’s circle after four of his last five starts, but has found most success in shorter turf sprints. Said, 20-year-old jockey Trevor McCarthy, who won three races on the day’s card, “We were going farther today than usual so my instructions were to take the lead if we could get it. If not, stay just off. He didn’t get the lead so I stayed just off and we didn’t have any trouble in the race.”
Continued McCarthy, “He had a lot left in the last eighth but I didn’t think I would get by the four. As we approached the wire, the four [Bold Thunder] got a little tired and my horse started to dig back in. Ben’s Cat, coming on the outside also helped to push us along. We were able to get up.”
Bruce Alexander, who purchased Dreamsgonewild for $22,000 out of the 2010 OBS select yearling sale, celebrated his biggest victory as a trainer by saying, “This will pay for a lot of groceries. The four was in front but we didn’t want to be chasing him the whole way. Then my rider heard Ben’s Cat coming and the horse pinned his ears back and won.”
Alexander also focused on the young jockey’s ride, with good reason. “I’m Trevor’s great uncle,” Alexander said. “He rode a perfect race. I think I was riding as hard as Trevor was. I think he’s going to be one of the premier riders in the country. Very disciplined for a young kid.”
Bred by Ed and Diane Gregory’s Carapan Farm LLC, Dreamsgonewild is the first black type winner out of Twin Stroller, a winning Ontario-bred daughter of Strolling Along who has been a solid producer since being purchased by Carapan for just $5,500 at the OBS Fall mixed sale in 2001, producing no fewer than five winners from five foals to start.
Although Dreamsgonewild is her most successful offspring to date, with $326,828 in earnings, her first foal, Island Reversal (Tactical Advantage) also earned six figures. She has also produced a 3-year-old full brother to Dreamsgonewild, who has not yet started.