Take Charge Paula, Fly So High Face Off in Davona Dale Stakes
The Road to the continues on March 3rd with the $200,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, a one-mile race that attracted eight promising young fillies.By far the most accomplished entrant is , who has already won four stakes races from just seven starts. The daughter of Take Charge Indy is also 2-for-2 at Gulfstream Park, having battled to a narrow victory in the six-furlong House Party Stakes before rolling to a 3 ½-length triumph in the seven-furlong Forward Gal Stakes (gr. III) on February 3rd.
But Take Charge Paula will be stretching out another furlong in distance on Saturday and will do so while carrying top weight of 122 pounds. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained filly might be good enough to overcome the obstacles and record a fifth stakes win, but she figures to face a stiff test from Fly So High, a lightly-raced up-and-comer from the barn of Shug McGaughey.
Boasting a top-notch pedigree (she’s by Malibu Moon out of a Quiet American mare), Fly So High finished third in her debut at Belmont last fall but is 2-for-2 since stretching out to a mile, breaking her maiden at Aqueduct by an easy 7 ¾ lengths before cruising to a similarly impressive victory in a Gulfstream Park allowance race, triumphing by 5 ½ lengths while earning a 99 BRIS speed figure. In the Davona Dale, she’s drawn an advantageous outside post position that should give her options to work out a good trip, and she’ll also carry just 116 pounds, six less than Take Charge Paula.
Sultry, Heavenhasmynikki, and Miss Mo Mentum—second, fourth, and sixth in the Forward Gal Stakes—will all be back to face Take Charge Paula again, with Miss Mo Mentum looming as an interesting longshot candidate considering that she had previously won two straight races going a mile on dirt, including the Hut Hut Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Another stakes winner in the Davona Dale field is Sunny Skies, who won the Debutante Stakes last summer at Churchill Downs and later ran third in the Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) going a mile and a sixteenth. Trained by Kenny McPeek, Sunny Skies will be running for the first time since October and might need to get a race under her belt before returning to peak form, but a solid effort on Saturday could set her up for a big year.
Rounding out the field are the recent Gulfstream Park maiden winners Alter Moon and Cache. Post time for the Davona Dale is 3:00 p.m. Eastern.