Forward Gal deja vu in Davona Dale?
A full field of 14 has been assembled for the $200,000 Davona Dale S. (G2), the most expensive of the three Kentucky Oaks (G1) points races on Saturday. While the Gulfstream Park contest offers the most in purse money, it is the shortest in distance at just a mile and equals the other two races on the points scale of 50-20-10-5.
There are a number in the field who could end up taking home the majority of the points and purse, including the top two from the Forward Gal S. (G2), an unbeaten Grade 3 scorer and a stakes debuter with winning experience over track and distance.
Birdatthewire and Lassofthemohicans upset the Forward Gal last out at double-digit odds. That seven-furlong test is part of Gulfstream's three-year-old filly series of races leading to the Kentucky Oaks, culminating in the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) on March 28.
The pair rallied from near the back of the Forward Gal, with Birdatthewire going best of all to score by 3 ¼ lengths at 12-1. Lassofthemohicans just got up to take second by a neck over 7-2 second choice Taylor S, while 10-1 Ekati's Phaeton bolstered the exotics that day another neck back in fourth.
Ekati's Phaeton – along with Skipalute, Distinta and Enchantress – all return out of that race for a shot at turning the tables on the Forward Gal top two. Skipalute actually didn't even finish the race, eased in the stretch after being bumped at the start and running wide on the turn, while Distinta and Enchantress came in sixth and eighth, respectively.
Skipalute was making her sophomore bow in the Forward Gal, just like Jacaranda will be doing on Saturday in the Davona Dale. The latter filly is undefeated in two starts thus far, breaking her maiden by five lengths at Belmont Park in September before taking the Tempted S. (G3) while going a mile at Aqueduct by 3 ½ lengths in early November.
While her BRIS Speed numbers are a bit on the low-end as compared to others in Saturday's race, at least Jacaranda has prior stakes experience. Eskenformoney took six tries to break her maiden, finally getting the job done by 9 ¾ lengths in December, and scoring last out against allowance/optional claiming rivals by 3 ¾ lengths. That leaves the dark bay miss to face skilled stakes performers in the Davona Dale.
That may seem a formidable task, but Eskenformoney does bring the advantage of both trainer Todd Pletcher and having captured her last two – easily – over track and distance.
Cavorting and Puca could end up with a piece of the action on Saturday.
Cavorting competes outside of New York for the first time but has been working up a storm for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin at Palm Meadows in Florida. The bay lass broke her maiden by 11 lengths at Belmont before taking the Adirondack S. (G2) at Saratoga last summer. She closed out 2014 early following a last-of-seven finish in the Frizette S. (G1), where she was bumped at the start and faltered over the sloppy, sealed track.
Puca was a wise-guy horse in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) thanks to a 16-length maiden victory at Belmont last fall. She rallied for sixth in that contest, just three lengths back of the winner, and makes her three-year-old bow in this spot.
Danessa Deluxe owns some lower numbers and would have to improve off her fourth in the Delta Downs Princess (G3) last out to factor here. Money'soncharlotte is a stakes winner from the Gulfstream Park West meet, and traveled to Fair Grounds to be third at 28-1 in the Silverbulletday S. last out, but may not be fast enough to keep up with these.
Silverpocketsfull and Genre – second and fourth, respectively, to Eskenformoney most recently – round out the field.