Yara, upset winner of the Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) earlier this year, is being pointed toward the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) following her fifth-place finish in last week’s Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. II).
“That was the initial plan before her last race and we’re going to stick to it,” trainer Jose Garoffalo said, according to a release from the Calder Casino & Race Course publicity office. “We’re looking forward to running her in the Oaks; for now that’s the plan.”
The 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks is May 4.
Yara, whose two victories at Calder last year included the $125,000 Joe O’Farrell Juvenile Fillies, began her 3-year-old season with a fourth-place performance in the Forward Gal (gr. II). She returned to capture the Davona Dale at 64-1 odds.
Bred in Florida by Brambly Lane Farm & Steve Dwoskin, the daughter of Put It Back races for Peras International. Garoffalo purchased Yara for $24,000 from the consignment of Nickajack/Rey de Oros, agent, to the 2011 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s April sale of 2-year-olds in training.
“She showed us in the Davona Dale just how good she really is,” Garoffalo said. “It was that effort that proved to us she deserved a shot at a race like the (Kentucky) Oaks. That win (over Grace Hall) showed that she can definitely run with, and beat, those kinds of horses.”
In her latest start, Yara dueled for the lead and was still forwardly placed through the final turn before finishing fifth.
“The fractions were extremely fast that day,” Garoffalo said. “She ran three-quarters in 1:10. When you compare that with the boys one race later (in the grade I Florida Derby), they went (three-quarters) in 1:12, so clearly she was going fast.
“I don’t think we were ever beating the winner (Grace Hall) that day, but if she could have slowed things down just a bit early, I think we realistically could have finished second. But the most important thing is that she came out of the race good, she’s training normally, there are no issues, and we’re looking forward to Kentucky.”