Ivanavinalot Seeks Turnaround in Millions' Distaff

Last year's Sunshine Millions Oaks runner-up Ivanavinalot will try to put a disappointing 2003 campaign behind her when she goes in Saturday's $500,000 Ocala Breeders' Sales Distaff at Gulfstream Park.

After starting last year with promise, including a victory in the Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II), the 4-year-old Florida-bred hit a run of mishaps and bad luck that left trainer Kathleen O'Connell struggling to get her charge back on her game. A rough trip in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland began a streak of seven losses. Six were by more than 10 lengths.

"She had a very tough time in Keeneland and then caught a sloppy track in the Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico," said O'Connell. "She ran a great race in the My Charmer when she finished third, but then she drew a bad post in her next start."

That race – the Genter Stakes at 7 ½ furlongs on the grass at Calder where she finished 11th of 12 – was followed up by a last-place run in a minor grass stakes Dec. 31. O'Connell's plan for a better New Year is a return to basics and some home cooking.

"Physically she's in as good a shape as she's ever been," said O'Connell. "I'm just worried about her mentally. We're getting her back on the dirt. She's training up to this race well and she definitely has an affinity for the Gulfstream course."

Ivanavinalot is expected to join Smok'n Frolic in making a second consecutive start on Sunshine Millions Day. Smok'n Frolic is the defending Distaff champion.

Most Popular Stories