Dakota Light returned to running two turns in Saturday's $100,000 Three Ring Stakes at Calder, contested at a mile and a sixteenth, and the 2-year-old filly celebrated with her first stakes victory.
Dakota Light spent part of the summer chasing Calder's top filly, Ivanavinalot, in a pair of stakes races where she ran second and third. Both the Brave Raj Stakes and the My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes were route races in which Ivanavinalot was far and away the best, but Dakota Light still showed plenty of promise.
The daughter of Colony Light turned back to seven furlongs for the Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies Nov. 16, and was sixth.
Saturday, Jockey Julio Garcia kept Dakota Light off the pace set by Lady Stars and on the far outside going down the backstretch. Dakota Light angled in and started to pick things up around the three-eighths pole and became a definite threat with a quarter mile left to go in the race. Racing down the stretch, it appeared to be a two-horse contest between Dakota Light and Kentucky invader Bird Town, until Never Fail came running late and was up for second, defeating Bird Town by a neck.
"That was a nice race," said Garcia. "I've ridden her before and I keep telling the trainer she needs more distance; she's lazy in the first part of the race. But, she works good in the morning. I wasn't last, but on the backside my filly wanted to go and that surprised me. So, I let her start going."
Dakota Light is trained by David Brownlee for J D Farms. She covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:47 2/5 and paid $12 for the win.
The victory was her second in six starts – all at Calder – since beginning her career on Aug. 4. With the $60,000 winner's share. her career earnings improved to $145,150.
"She's much improved (since chasing Ivanavinalot) and growing up now," said Brownlee. "We threw her into a stakes in only her third start. Turning her back to seven-eighths last time was a mistake and won't happen again. She wants two turns."