Grace Hall, the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) runner-up from last year, headlines a field of nine 3-year-old fillies in the $250,000 Davona Dale (gr. II) Feb. 25 at Gulfstream Park.
The 1 1/16-mile Davona Dale is the last of three graded races on a Gulfstream Saturday card that also includes the Sabin (gr. III) for fillies and mares and The Very One (gr. IIIT) for female turf routers. Tony Dutrow trainee Grace Hall will tackle Demoiselle (gr. II) victor Disposablepleasure and a handful of other black-type winners in her season debut.
When last seen Grace Hall was finishing a distant second to eventual champion My Miss Aurelia in the BC Juvenile Fillies Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. The Empire Maker filly was clearly beaten, but was a full six lengths ahead of the third-place finisher in that race. It was her first defeat in four lifetime starts, as she won a pair of races at Delaware Park sandwiched around an impressive Spinaway (gr. I) victory at Saratoga.
Ramon Dominguez will keep the mount on Grace Hall, who will break from post 2. The filly is owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and The Elkstone Group. She is out of the Ezzoud mare Season’s Greetings.
“We’ve had this race picked out for her comeback for some time,” said Dutrow. “Everything in her training has gone on schedule. She’s filled out and matured mentally from last year to now. The goal for her is the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and hopefully this will be the first step to get her there.”
Glencrest Farm’s Disposablepleasure will carry top weight of 120 pounds thanks to her nose victory in the Nov. 26 Demoiselle at Aqueduct. Dominguez was aboard for that one, but the Giacomo filly will get the services of Julien Leparoux this time.
Disposablepleasure will also be making her season debut. She raced four times a juvenile, with an eye-opening 11-length maiden special weight win at Belmont also on her résumé. The gray/roan filly will be saddled by the meet’s runaway leading trainer, Todd Pletcher.
Interestingly, Pletcher’s first-call rider, John Velazquez, will be aboard Darley’s Captivating Lass, a narrow winner of the Busanda Stakes Jan. 7 at Aqueduct. The A.P. Indy filly was seventh in the Demoiselle, but has come back a different horse since that race. She has worked three times for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in South Florida since the Busanda, including a bullet five furlongs on Feb. 17 at Palm Meadows.
Other stakes winners in the Davona Dale include Salad Girl and Frolic's Revenge. Joel Kligman’s New Jersey homebred Salad Girl won the Jan. 14 Gasparilla Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, while Stride Rite Racing Stable’s homebred Frolic’s Revenge won the Lindsay Frolic Stakes at Calder last summer. She was third in the Sweetest Chant Stakes on the Gulfstream turf course in her season debut last month.
$250,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. III, Race 11, 5:13 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Nuffsaid Nuffsaid (KY), J Lezcano, 116, M A Hennig
2. Grace Hall (KY), R A Dominguez, 118, A W Dutrow
3. Captivating Lass (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, K P McLaughlin
4. The Cat's All That (KY), P Lopez, 116, C Peery
5. Frolic's Revenge (KY), J C Leyva, 118, M W Wolfson
6. Yara (FL), J L Castanon, 116, J Garoffalo
7. Disposablepleasure (KY), J R Leparoux, 120, T A Pletcher
8. Taker Home (KY), L Contreras, 116, B A Pirie
9. Salad Girl (NJ), E Trujillo, 118, E Plesa Jr.