Dancing Rags

B.f., 2014, by Union Rags—Home Court, by Storm Cat.
Bred by David DiPietro; owned by Chadds Ford Stable; trained by H. Graham Motion.
Foaled at Shamrock Farm, Woodbine.

David DiPietro was in the mountains of New England and not the rolling hills of Kentucky’s bluegrass country when the flag-bearer for his small breeding operation collected a signature victory in the Alcibiades Stakes-G1 on Keeneland’s opening day card last fall. That doesn’t mean he was off the grid, or even slightly out of the loop, when it came to following the progress of Dancing Rags.

Quite the contrary. DiPietro, in New Hampshire at a business-school reunion last October, watched the race by himself live on TVG and beamed with pride as the daughter of Union Rags delivered an upset. That win proved critical to Dancing Rags becoming the 2016 Maryland-bred champion 2-year-old filly.

“It was a little strange, being there in New Hampshire and not at the race or in Maryland, but it was a thrill,” DiPietro said.

Dancing Rags, who won the Alcibiades less than a month after breaking her maiden at Laurel Park for Phyllis Wyeth’s Chadds Ford Stable and trainer Graham Motion, earned an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1 through the Win And You’re In program. DiPietro was on hand for that race at Santa Anita, where she finished eighth after a rough start and racing between rivals close up around the far turn before fading.

“Everything was a real thrill, especially given the fact that her win in the Alcibiades earned her a trip to the Breeders’ Cup,” said DiPietro, a former president of Maryland Million and a board member of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. “Knowing that she earned a trip [to the Breeders’ Cup] sort of suspended the commotion and celebration, whatever you want to call it, heading into that. But it was great and I feel like most people when things go well in this business, it’s as much good fortune as anything. But whatever it is, it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable that’s for sure.”

DiPietro bred Dancing Rags out of his Storm Cat mare Home Court, a $110,000 purchase at Keeneland November 2012 (in foal to Lookin At Lucky). Kentucky-based bloodstock agent Larkin Armstrong helped with the purchase and works closely with DiPietro.

“The things we try to look for are to not swing for the fences but to try and find value, something that maybe is out of favor, or find something that has limited downside and still some upside,” DiPietro said. “That was the idea when we bought Home Court. It’s definitely started to work out well now. She’s [16] now and hopefully has a few more good years of breeding. All the horses from her look great and run nicely.”

Home Court is one of five broodmares owned by DiPietro and Dancing Rags is her ninth foal.

The 2013 foal by Lookin At Lucky, a colt, died before DiPietro could sell him as a yearling and Home Court’s 2011 foal is Grade 2 winner Coup de Grace. She’s the dam of an unnamed 2-year-old colt by Tiznow DiPietro sold for $125,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale shortly after Dancing Rags’ Grade 1 victory. Home Court was bred to Constitution last year.

“I’m primarily breeding these horses to sell them,” said DiPietro, who sold Dancing Rags as a yearling for $80,000 and then watched her resell as a 2-year-old for $210,000. “The initial object is to get some money back, or as much as possible, and then think about keeping fillies. It will be nice to get a filly out of Home Court as she gets older. I know the Constitution she is carrying is a colt, so most likely we’ll sell him, too.”

Dancing Rags got a short break following the Breeders’ Cup. She was back with Motion’s string at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and was scheduled for her first breeze in mid-February with designs on a return to the races in the spring.

Tom Law

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