On paper, there isn’t much in the way of early speed in Saturday’s $200,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, and that should play to the strengths of champion #1 Jaywalk as she makes her much-anticipated three-year-old debut.
After finishing second in her debut at Monmouth last summer, Jaywalk rattled off four straight victories with complete authority. She got better as the year progressed, and no one could touch her in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) or the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), both of which she won by more than five lengths in gate-to-wire fashion.
In terms of BRIS speed and pace metrics, Jaywalk is a clear standout. None of her rivals have earned better than a 92 BRIS speed figure, but Jaywalk fired off a 98 in the Frizette and a 103 in the Breeders’ Cup. And in a race where few of her rivals have shown a desire to race on or near the lead, Jaywalk figures to dominate the Davona Dale on the front end. She threw down BRIS E1 and E2 pace figures of 110 and 114 in the Breeders’ Cup, numbers that none of her challengers have matched.
The main concern is whether Jaywalk will be ready to fire her best shot off a layoff—she’s hasn’t run since November 2—but her work tab at Palm Meadows looks solid, and it’s not like she’ll be facing a field of proven Grade 1 winners. And actually, three of her rivals are also returning from winter layoffs, including #2 Cookie Dough, perhaps the only filly with enough consistent tactical speed to challenge Jaywalk for early supremacy.
Cookie Dough is a pretty good filly in her own right, as she demonstrated while overcoming a very wide trip from post twelve to win the Florida Sire My Dear Girl Stakes by 7 ½ lengths last September. She’s got the speed to sit a comfortable trip tracking Jaywalk, and she’s been turning in blazing workouts at Gulfstream since January, so the layoff shouldn’t be a concern.
#7 High Regard flattened out to finish third in the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) after challenging in the homestretch, but she was compromised by a slow pace that day and still wasn’t badly beaten. She picks up Javier Castellano for Saturday’s assignment and might appreciate the cutback to a one-turn mile. #6 Bold Script is intriguing too; she’s bred for dirt but has shown solid form on turf and Tapeta at Woodbine, most notably winning the Princess Elizabeth Stakes and finishing third in the Natlama Stakes (gr. I). This consistent filly could fire a big shot with Jose Ortiz in the saddle.
$3 trifecta: 1 with 2 with 3,6,7 ($9)
$3 trifecta: 1 with 3,6,7 with 2 ($9)
$1 superfecta: 1 with 2 with 3,6,7 with 3,6,7 ($6)
$1 superfecta: 1 with 3,6,7 with 2 with 3,6,7 ($6)