(Reuters) - Danza and Dance With Fate entered the Kentucky Derby discussion on Saturday after winning major prep races for the first jewel of American horseracing’s Triple Crown.
Danza, a 41-1 long shot trained by Todd Pletcher, romped to a 4 3/4 length victory at the grade one $1 million Arkansas Derby in Hot Springs, Arkansas, while Dance With Fate charged to a 1 3/4 length win at the Blue Grass Stakes in Keeneland.
Danza, with Joe Bravo in the irons, stormed away from Ride on Curlin, making Pletcher a four-time winner of the Arkansas prep. Bob Baffert-trained favorite Bayern was third.
Dance With Fate came from well off the pace, Corey Nakatani pulling away from Medal Count down the home stretch for the win.
Trainer Peter Eurton said he would wait to decide whether the colt would run at Churchill Downs on May 3.
“I just don’t know,” said Eurton on KentuckyDerby.com. “It’s three weeks and kind of quick back. ”I know he loves synthetic better, (likes) turf. I just don’t know if he likes dirt.
“I know I‘m going to hear it from everybody, though.”
While Eurton will take time to consider his horse’s chances, Nakatani had no doubt Dance With Fate belongs in the Kentucky field.
”I don’t have any doubt he can (get 1 1/4 miles),“ Nakatani said. ”It’s just a matter of whether he’ll handle the Churchill Downs surface at this point.
“He’s done things right. He seems to do well on the grass and at Churchill, I’ve won the (Kentucky) Oaks on a filly that won on the grass so hopefully we’ll get (Dance With Fate) there after this race.”
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Peter Rutherford