Dancing Buck wins NY return in Elusive Quality

Sunday, May 5th, 2024

Dancing Buck draws off to win Saturday’s Elusive Quality in his New York return. NYRA Photo.

After a pair of runner-up finishes in graded stakes events at Santa Anita Park, Grade 3 winner Dancing Buck returned to his winning ways Saturday with a victory in the $150,000 Elusive Quality Stakes.

Racing over 6 furlongs on the turf in one of three stakes that highlighted the first Saturday card of the Belmont at the Big A meeting, Dancing Buck broke well and immediately took the lead to control the pace. The 6-year-old son of War Dancer opened more than a length on the field early before the other added pressure through the first quarter in :22.40.

Dancing Buck didn’t have it easy on the front end but kept his lead through the half in :44.60. He turned for home in front, putting away his early arrivals and bracing for a late run from American Monarch. That rival cut the gap but fell short by 1 1/4 lengths. Alogon finished another half-length back in third. Dancing Buck won in 1:07.58 over the firm turf.

“Manny (Franco) gave him a great ride,” said Michelle Nevin, who trains Dancing Buck for his breeders J & N Stables and Diamond M Stable. “He took advantage of (Nothing Better) not breaking and once he had control of the race, the horse was there for him.”

The Elusive Quality was Dancing Buck’s first victory since he took the Grade 3 Belmont Turf Sprint back on Oct. 2, 2022 during the first Belmont at the Big A meet. Dancing Buck improved to 7-for-21 with five seconds in the Elusive Quality and padded his bankroll to $592,920. Included in those 21 starts are two stakes wins and five stakes-placings.

Dancing Buck spent the winter in Southern California with trainer Rick Dutrow before returning to Nevin’s barn in New York after his second in the Grade 3 San Simeon March 9. He also finished second in Santa Anita’s Grade 2 Joe Hernandez in late December.

“Having more recency on the other horses is always going to help,” Nevin said. “He loves this turf course, so we were excited to have him back.

Nevin said Dancing Buck’s next start could come in the Grade 1 Jaipur on the June 8 Belmont Stakes card at Saratoga Race Course.

A third-generation New York-bred, Dancing Buck is out of the multiple stakes-placed Catienus mare Frivolous Buck. That mare has produced four winners from six to race with Dancing Buck’s full sister, Mz Big Bucks, earning her own stakes victory in June 2023. Mz Big Bucks has been working regularly at Belmont Park as she prepares for her 2024 debut.

Frivolous Buck is one of two stakes performers for her own dam Terminal Buck, who produced multiple stakes placed Buck Mountain. Buck Mountain is also the dam of multiple stakes-winning mare Our Last Buck.

Frivolous Buck foaled a War Dancer colt named Shenanigans Buck last year for Elizabeth Jameson and was bred back to the stallion for 2024.

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