The Davona Dale shares top billing at Gulfstream Saturday with the $150,000 Old Hat, also for 3-year-old fillies, which features the return of Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner Dreaming of Anna in the 6 1/2-furlong tilt.
Meditations, to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, will be dropping back slightly in distance to a one-turn mile for the Davona Dale after her impressive score at Calder going 1 1/16 miles in her third career outing. Trained by Ralph Ziadie, the chestnut homebred filly by Out of Place broke her maiden by 10 3/4 lengths sprinting in late October after a second-place debut.
Another formidable contender in the Davona Dale will be Edward P. Evans’ Christmas Kid, with Rene Douglas. She captured Tropical Park Oaks on turf last out at Calder on New Year’s Day. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the homebred daughter of Lemon Drop Kid has made three of her four starts on turf, but her trainer said after the Calder race that he was eager to try her again on the main track.
Larry Bielfeldt's Kentucky homebred Lisa M may have had excuses for couple of poor performances, but trainer David Kassen is thinking positively.
“She had a couple bad races and a couple bad trips,” said Kassen Thursday morning. “We had her all stressed out and she needed a break. Now she's come back good and is doing well here.”
Lisa M has performed well when the trip hasn't been perfect. Last out in the $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks on turf at Calder on Jan. 1 she finished third, beaten less than two lengths, after breaking poorly and waiting in traffic around the final turn. She also won the $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Lassie Stakes (gr. III) last summer in Chicago despite traffic in that one-turn mile contest.
Her poor performances both came in Kentucky in the fall. She showed no response when 13th in the $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) over Polytrack at Keeneland on Oct. 6 and failed to bounce back over conventional dirt in the $100,000 Pocahontas Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs on Oct. 29, checking in ninth.
$150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 5:23 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 Mile
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Lisa M (KY), 119, Cornelio H. Velasquez
2. Meditations (KY), 119, Rafael Bejarano
3. Acadia Breeze (KY), 117, Mark Guidry
4. Pretoria Light (FL), 115, Manoel R. Cruz
5. Naseem (MD), 117, G. F. Almeida
6. Christmas Kid (VA), 119, Rene R. Douglas
7. Post Invader (KY), 115, Rosemary B. Homeister, Jr.
8. High Again (KY), 117, Joe Bravo