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Step Out Dancing steps out

October 26, 1998|By LARRY YANOS

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Step Out Dancing, with jockey Travis Dunkelberger aboard, rallied from off the pace Sunday afternoon to score a convincing victory in the $150,000 Breeders Classic at Charles Town Races.

The mile-and-an-eighth test was one of five Breeders Classics races during West Virginia Breeders Classics XII and provided the 21-year-old rider with his first Classics feature victory.

--cont. from sports page--

The eight-race card attracted 5,317 spectators who wagered $273,084.

"The race set up nice for me,'' Dunkelberger said.

"Horses were coming off the pace all day, and I wasn't worried about my position early in the race. I started picking up horses in the backstretch and got to the leaders about midway down. I knew I was sitting good at that point.''

Step Out Dancing, trained by James W. Casey and owned by Eleanor M. Casey, rushed past front-runners P.A.'s Iron Man, Me No Sissy and Mystical Dance and finished the race in 1:54.35, winning by five lengths.

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The complete order of finish: Step Out Dancing, Mystical Dance, Me No Sissy, Take Every Chance, P.A.'s Iron Man, Bold Dreamer, defending champion Take Aim, Loudoun Years, Weshtrum and Cold Harbor.

It marked the seventh time in 12 years the Casey family has won the featured attraction. The family also bred another champion.

Casey's son, James M., trained the second-place finisher who was ridden by Maryland-based jockey High McMahon.

Dunkelberger, en route to his third consecutive Charles Town riding title, added, "They were coming high and wide all day. I went out on a limb and decided to come from way out of it."

The strategy worked to perfection as Dunkelberger came from 10th place to win the feature.

"I liked his chances going into the race. He had trained real well," winning trainer James W. Casey said.

"He's had his share of problems over the years, but he's been doing fine recently. I liked the way the track was playing today, and I wasn't too worried when I saw him trailing the field early. That's the way he runs."

Jockey Carlos Marquez Jr., aboard the defending champion, was disappointed by his horse's performance.

"I have no excuses. He had a perfect trip. There was just nothing to 'Take Aim' at,'' Marquez said.

Casey added, "Going into the race, I really thought Take Aim was the horse to beat, but this horse (Step Out Dancing) ran a big race."

Winning owner Eleanor M. Casey said, "This horse has always been one of my favorites. He tries hard every time."

It was Dunkelberger's second win of the afternoon.

He also won aboard Ashby Inn in the $35,000 Southern States/Triple Crown Feed Breeders Classic.

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