One of two graded stakes winners entered in the one-mile event, Bsharpsonata will face a stiff test as three of her contenders come into the race off strong performances. The other two have solid place efforts to their credit, but trainer Timonthy Salzman seems confident that his Pulpit filly – bred in Florida out of the Affirmed mare Apasionata Sonata – can continue a three-race winning streak built this winter.
After taking the 1 1/16-mile Selima Stakes at Laurel last November, Bsharpsonata won the Tropical Park Oaks in January before shortening back to the Forward Gal’s seven-furlong distance. She earned that victory by a nose. Jockey Eric Camacho, aboard for the filly’s past five starts, gets the mount again from the one hole.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has the likely favorite in Zabeel Racing International’s Game Face. The daughter of Menifee, bred in Kentucky by Marilyn Seltzer out of the Gone West mare Galleon of Gold, was an impressive seven-length winner of the Jan. 12 Old Hat Stakes (gr. II) after breaking her maiden by 7 ¼-lengths last November. A $280,000 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company 2-year-olds in training purchase, Game Face stretches out to the one-mile distance for the first time. Her past wins were at a respective six and 6 ½-furlongs. Jockey John Velazquez will ride from post four.
Another filly tackling a mile for the first time is Mike Tarp’s American County, winner of the Jan. 26 Sunshine Millions Oaks at Gulfstream. The Gibson Countyfilly has raced mostly at the six-furlong distance for trainer Dale Romans, and has only finished off the board in one start, recording a 3-3-3 record from 10 attempts. Bred in Florida by North Star Equine out of the Pentelicus mare Young American, she managed to show last July in Churchill’s Debutante Stakes (gr. III), but has yet to earn a graded victory of her own. The filly will be ridden by Edgar Prado and drew post position number three.
Robbie’s Gal, runner-up to American County last time out, will do her best to reverse that order in the Davona Dale. Bred in Florida by Catherine Hudson out of the Prospect Bay mare Flutterfree, owned by Robbies and Emmas Racing Stables, and trained by Stephen DiMauro, the otherwise solid Straight Manfilly was rebounding from an uncharacteristic 10th-place finish in the Tropical Park Oaks won by Bsharpsonata. Prior to that start, she scored a win in the GTOBA Debutante Stakes at Calder Dec. 2. Jockey Jorge Chavez is aboard on the outside.
The remaining two runners – Zayat Stable’s J Z Warrior and Augustin Stable’s Informed Decision – tangled last time out in a 6 ½-furlong allowance event at Gulfstream Feb. 2. J Z Warrior, a Harlan’s Holiday filly bred in Kentucky by Gulf Coast Farms out of the Carson City mare Carson Jen, had taken the lead when John Velazquez inadvertently struck Informed Decision with his whip. J Z Warrior was disqualified and Informed Decision, a daughter of Monarchos bred in Kentucky by C. Kidder and N. Cole out of the His Majesty mare Palangana, was placed first. Informed Decision’s maiden win came by a solid 6 ½-length score at Gulfstream Jan. 3, while J Z Warrior broke her maiden by 10 lengths at Saratoga last July.
$150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II, race 9, approximate post 5:13 p.m. EST), one mile, 3-year-old fillies, dirt
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Bsharpsonata (FL), 119, Eric Camacho
2. Informed Decision (KY), 115, Rene Douglas
3. American County (FL), 119, Edgar Prado
4. Game Face (KY), 119, John Velazquez
5. J Z Warrior (KY), 115, Kent Desormeaux
6. Robbie's Gal (FL), 119, Jorge Chavez